News Nosh 02.08.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 8, 2015

Number of the day:
Seven million.
--The number of dollars currently being bid for the rope that hung former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Israelis, Kuwaitis and Iranians are vying for the chord.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

Election 2015 Polls:
Latest Yedioth poll puts Zionist Camp one seat ahead of Likud and Habayit Hayehudi drops to 12 seats.
News Summary:
Another cancellation to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress – this one from US Vice President Joe Biden – makes top story in today’s Hebrew newspapers as Israeli Opposition leader Isaac Herzog gets a hug from the VP.
The papers, with the obvious exception of the ‘Netanyahu mouthpiece,’ Israel Hayom, reported extensively on the opposition to Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress next month. ADL's Abe Foxman called on Netanyahu to cancel his address as did leaders of Israeli left and center-left parties, saying it was an election ploy that will harm Israel. Two prominent black Democrats also announced they won't attend the speech. Interestingly, Israeli Deputy Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) suggests the Republican who invited Netanyahu misled him.

Alongside these reports was a photo of Labor leader Herzog hugging with Biden. Herzog is in Munich attending the Security Conference and according to Yedioth, avoided criticism of the Israeli government, but when asked if he would have given the speech to Congress Herzog said no, thank you, suggesting it harms Israel's 'strategic allegiance' with the US. Likud accused Herzog of crossing all lines by criticizing government while abroad. Israel Hayom ran a poll that said that 42% of Americans support Netanyahu giving his speech in Congress. Ynet’s Elior Levy reported that Palestinian officials even said that Netanyahu’s Congress speech helps their cause.
Meanwhile, Maariv emphasized in a one-page article the ‘warning’ by Iran’s Foreign Minister that the failure of nuclear talks could herald the end of pragmatic Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's career.
Separately, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry ended his seven-year tenure here with a warning to Israelis that settlement building is leading Israel to one state with no Palestinian Authority security coordination. Nickolay Mladenov, Bulgaria's former foreign and defense minister, will replace Serry.

Quick Hits:
  • For second time in less than two weeks, Druze soldier attacked after speaking Arabic - Israeli Druze who serves as Golani Brigade soldier attacked by group of Jews after speaking Arabic in a night club: 'The insult is worse than the physical pain but this just shows that it's not a matter of patriotism or the IDF.' (Ynet and Maariv)
  • Israeli settlers open fire at protesters near Hebron - Settlers from the illegal settlement outpost of Karmei Tsur shot live fire directly at participants of the weekly peaceful protest near Beit Ummar late Friday. No injuries reported. (Maan)
  • Preaching to the converted: Israel paying for Jewish outreach groups in religious settlements - Education Ministry stipulates that groups of young families, students promoting Jewish values must operate in areas that have diverse populations across religious spectrum to receive funding. (Haaretz+)
  • Furtive finance of settlements a top Israeli election issue - Associated Press analysis of national budget figures found that expansion in West Bank received eightfold increase in public funding in 2014. Calcalist reports Justice Ministry will soon recommend closing WZO's Settlement Division. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Israeli settler opens fire at Palestinian cars in Nablus - An Israeli settler opened fire at several Palestinian cars near the village of Aqraba south of Nablus on Saturday. No injuries reported. (Maan
  • Israeli forces detain Palestinian child, youth - Israeli police arrested Mahmoud Dawuod Abu al-Hawa, 10, Wednesday from in front of his home in the al-Tur area of East Jerusalem and reportedly told his mother to bring 750 shekels and to follow them to the police station in order to secure his release. (Maan)
  • Israeli court frees innocent 16-year-old after 6 month detention - Judge of Israeli central court decided to release Mahmoud al-Hadra after ruling that he was not guilty of the charges he was facing. (Maan
  • Group: 13 Palestinians being detained by Israel every day - Israeli authorities detained 400 Palestinians in the month of January, or around 13 per day, without charge or trial, according to the Arab human rights organization, Arab Group for Development and National Empowerment. (Maan)
  • Israel releases Gazan prisoner after 8 years in custody - A large group of Palestinians welcomed Ashraf Ali Awad, 32, as he entered the Gaza Strip through the Beit Hanoun gate in the northern Gaza Strip. Israel forbade Awad from seeing his family for the last five and a half years. (Maan)
  • Israeli authorities release 3 Palestinian prisoners Friday - Among them is Issa Riyad Moussa Siyaj, who was detained on Nov. 7, 2013 while taking part in a campaign inside the Al-Aqsa religious compound and was sentenced to 16 months in prison. Ayman Samih al-Abbasi, 16, and Bassem Daana, 23, both from E. Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • Israel likely to withhold additional $100m in Palestinian tax funds - Palestinians believe that Israel will not pass tax and custom revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority until after March elections in move likely to damage Palestinian economy. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian president establishes central authority for ICC claims - The committee will be responsible for the preparation and submission of all Palestinian claims regarding alleged war crimes by Israel. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Palestinians try to stop separation fence near monastery - Mayors of near-by Palestinian communities to meet with Pope Francis and ask him to intervene against building the barrier in its planned path, that would cut off students of the Silesian Sisters Convent from the school. (Ynet)
  • Israeli settlers set up mobile homes in Jalud, south of Nablus - Several Israeli settlers set up five mobile homes Saturday in Jalud village. (Maan)
  • Settlers create outpost near Beita south of Nablus - Several settler families arrived Thursday at outskirt of the northern West Bank village of Beita and set up movable houses and water tanks. The settlers, he added, surrounded the area with a fence. The Palestinian Authority's liaison department has asked its Israeli counterpart for an explanation. (Maan)
  • PM says Israel to demolish illegal EU structures in Area C - European Union "committed to the development of the area" for the Palestinians and strongly opposes Israeli settlement expansion. Construction Minister Uri Ariel: EU's "callous and illegal activity is a brazen attempt to harm Israel." (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli authorities plan to destroy wells serving Silwad farmers - Israeli forces put the demolition notices on top of agricultural wells belonging to Nasser Issa, Yasser Salim, Bassel al-Tawil, and Muhammad Saleh. The farmers were also summoned to attend a military court session. (Maan)
  • Palestinian shot in Hebron after grabbing soldier's gun - An Israeli army spokeswoman said the man was shot in the lower extremities after trying to grab a soldier's gun near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba. (Maan)
  • Police officers who killed Bedouin man to be questioned - Suspicions mount that cops broke regulations in shooting death that set off violent Bedouin protests. (Haaretz+)
  • VIDEO: Head-cam documents grueling Israeli Naval Academy training course - Youths vying for a spot in Israel elite navy must pass a serious of tests known in Israel as Naval Academy training; only 1-in-3 cadets complete the 2.5 year course; take a POV look at one of the final tests cadets must pass. (Ynet)
  • Lieberman: Israel's apology to Turkey was a great mistake - After Turkey withdraws from Munich security conference to avoid Israeli delegation, foreign minister blasts Ankara – and Netanyahu. (Haaretz+) 
  • Turkey pulls out of Munich conference to avoid Israeli delegation - Turkish foreign minister announces he will not attend security conference after Israeli officials are invited; Lieberman blasts PM's decision to apologize for flotilla incident. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Republican National Committee chairman skips controversial trip to Israel - Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is ultimately not participating in a controversial party trip he helped organize to Israel. RNC trips have received funding from the American Family Association, a conservative Christian organization described as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (Haaretz+)
  • Arab, Jewish teenagers meet in youth parliament - The Youth Parliament of the Mixed Towns of Israel aims to build bridges between all sectors of Israeli society. (Ynet)
  • Habayit Hayehudi wants Ayelet Shaked for Public Security Ministry - Far-right party touts plan to restore law and order, which includes taking power over Bedouin land in order to take a harder line. (Ynet)
  • Livni: Zionist Camp will not sit in Netanyahu-Bennett gov’t - Center-left leader Livni blasts Netanyahu for scheduled Congress speech, saying ‘Netanyahu is throwing Israel’s security to the wind just so he can be heard speaking fluent English and get a few extra votes.’ (Ynet)
  • Likud: New video proves US, European groups fund radical Left - Likud officials say new video released by "Commanders for Israel's Security" campaign is aimed at "toppling the Netanyahu-led Likud government illegally."  In the video, former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and others attack the current government. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ariel U. offers to pay researchers to add affiliation to publications - Council for Higher Education budget committee says it will investigate the matter. (Haaretz+)
  • **Report: Israelis among bidders for rope that hanged Saddam Hussein - The man who led the deposed dictator to the gallows is offering the rope for sale; current top bid is reportedly $7 million. (Haaretz)
  • Report: 1 in 3 Israelis will get cancer - Israel has highest rate of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in the world, according to figures presented by Israel Cancer Association, likely due to genetics and high exposure to pesticides. (Ynet)
  • Teachers' union pamphlet in Arabic appears to incite - against IDF - Arabic pamphlet published by the Israeli Teachers' Union includes story about a fetus who wishes to be born and then "die as a martyr in the struggle against the occupation."  Priest Father Gabriel Nadaf [who supports Arab Christian Israelis joining the IDF - OH] made complaint to union about incitement. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas official's car blown up in Gaza - Bombing comes at time of rising tension over failure of Palestinian Authority to repair war damage and lift blockade. (Haaretz)
  • Navy installs advanced underwater AquaShield detection system - AquaShield system identifies individual divers underwater from far greater distance and more accurately. Senior Navy officer: "The chances of a diver infiltrating the system are zero. The system is proven and constitutes a sea barrier for Israel." (Israel Hayom)
  • Egypt, Norway urge donor states to pay $5.4 billion in aid to Gaza - The two nations, who led a donors' conference in Cairo, write an open letter to states that pledged, citing suffering in Gaza. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Gazans protest against Egypt 'terror' ruling - Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated outside Egypt's diplomatic mission in Gaza City Friday, to protest a Cairo court ruling designating Hamas's armed wing as a terrorist group. (Maan)
  • Haniyeh telephones father of Jordanian pilot - Deputy chief of the Hamas movement's politburo Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday telephoned the father of the Jordanian pilot who was burnt to death by fighters of the Islamic State to express condolences. (Maan)
  • Syrian death toll crosses 210,000 as Jordan hits ISIS targets - Jordan attacks Islamic State targets in Syria, highlighting complex task international coalition faces as death toll continues to rise. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • American ISIS hostage might not have been killed in airstrike - Kayla Jean Mueller, who reportedly volunteered with Palestinians in Israel before traveling to Syria and being taken hostage by terror group was not killed in a Jordan airstrike, Jordan says; as family cling to hope. (Ynet)
  • UNESCO rejects Palestine posters as world heritage objects - The poster collection could fuel hatred and anti-Semitic perceptions, head of United Nations agency says. (JTA, Haaretz
  • Sweden to press Palestinians to boost role of women in nation-building efforts - Swedish FM Margot Wallstrom to urge Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on his upcoming visit to include more women in efforts to build a viable state. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Exclusive: Uruguay expels Iranian envoy suspected of helping place bomb near Israeli embassy - Senior official in Jerusalem says Uruguay updated Israel on the incident, but chose to keep a low profile concerning the affair. (Haaretz+)

Did Israel's National Library steal priceless books - or save them?
Gish Amit alleges that the National Library pilfered Torahs belonging to Yemenite Jews and books owned by Arabs to advance the Zionist enterprise. That may be true, but so what? (Tom Segev, Haaretz+)  
Russian-born Israelis are moving west, seeking a better future
Twenty-five years after the last major wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union, middle-class Russian-speaking families are emigrating. (Haaretz+)  
The scandal-to-scandal (to scandal) guide to the Israeli election, 2015
Accusations of embezzlement, illegal monitoring of opponents, meddling in U.S. politics, flawed primaries, mutual mudslinging and underhand recordings join the ever-growing list. (Haaretz+) 
US billionaire Abraham 'doesn't know' how much money he gave to V15
How can it be that Slim-Fast billionaire Daniel Abraham -- chief donor to the campaign aiming to unseat Netanyahu -- doesn't know how much money he gave? Who is S. Daniel Abraham who says he is "helping Israel obtain the best prime minister it can have?" (Miri Eden, Israel Hayom)
Who are the biggest contributors to politics in Israel? Many live in New York and Miami
Here are profiles of a few of the biggest overseas contributors to Israel’s politicians, the people whose money will have a lot to do with who forms the next government. (Shuki Sadeh, Haaretz+)
'Not Allenby, not Jerusalem and not 1917'
A new study reveals that some 20 photos purporting to depict the historic arrival of General Allenby in Jerusalem after its conquest by the British are mistakenly attributed. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+)
Iran's secret weapon: Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) The prime minister insists he must speak to Congress to stop a nuclear deal with Iran, but he's actually sabotaging Israel's most precious asset. 
Don't disqualify Zoabi from running in elections (Haaretz Editorial) The attempt to ban Haneen Zoabi is not only legally unjustified, but severely compromises the right of the Arab public to choose its representatives. 
Israel must ensure tension with Hezbollah, Hamas doesn't escalate (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel knows any move will be met with retaliation. The important thing is to keep things under control and stop the chain of events before it leads to a wider confrontation.
A salute to John Baird (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Canada's bold foreign minister demonstrated that it is possible to engage in moral diplomacy in a cynical worldץ
Israel's official religion is not Judaism; it's the Holocaust (Benny Ziffer, Haaretz+) The family portrayed in the daring TV comedy-drama series 'Zagouri Empire' doesn't believe in coerced sadness on Holocaust Day.
Benny Gantz says goodbye to term as head of IDF (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The head of Israel's armed forces leaves office in just over a week, after a term in which the region fell apart and Islamic terror groups seized swathes of neighboring states. But the man whose final summer of service included the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens and the subsequent war in Gaza has learned a vital lesson about the fighting spirit of his compatriots.
Beware: Republican Jews on the warpath (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz+) A campaign of intimidation is underway to stop Democratic lawmakers from skipping Netanyahu's upcoming Congress speech. God, save us from our Jews. 
Justice, Egyptian style – a long, sharp shock (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) The 25-year sentence handed down to a leading activist from the 2011 revolution sends a clear message to Egyptians ahead of this spring’s parliamentary elections.
Stop kidding yourselves, Israelis want Netanyahu as leader (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) Pundits are telling the Zionist Camp to take the battle to the prime minister more, but they're ignoring both history and the modern reality.
An election of Jewish values (Rabbi Donniel Hartman, Ynet) It's been a long time since we had elections campaign as important to the future of Israel as we do now. Our vote will not be about a peace agreement, but rather on the values that would lead to it.
Zionist Camp reveals its true, racist face (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The party that some hoped would defend Israeli democracy from attacks by the right wing has now joined the assault. 
The Likud is right: Security and diplomacy are the real election issues (Amnon Abramovich, Yedioth/Ynet) The 2015 vote must not focus on Netanyahu's alleged corruption but on his biggest failures: Preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state and the shattered relationship with America.
Sayed Kashua is free to write. So he's bidding farewell  (Sayed Kashua, Haaretz+) It's tremendously difficult when the existential feeling of being a persecuted minority begins to disintegrate. 
Israel's Arabs should join forces with sane Zionists (Kobi Richter, Yedioth/Ynet) Arab citizens who want to live in peace and equality with Israel's Jews don’t have to become Zionist, but they can help replace the nationalistic-aggressive government with a democratic peace government.
Scorched earth created by Netanyahu's Congress speech is spreading (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) And now the prime minister's loyalists plan to pour even more high-octane fuel on the burning fires of U.S.-Israeli relations.
How the European Union is building Palestine
(Emily Amrousi, Israel Hayom) Area C is defined by the Oslo Agreement as being under full Israeli control, but the reality is very different. With the support of the EU, permanent Palestinian Bedouin villages are popping up around Jerusalem. The EU inserts a wedge into the conflict. 
Would you buy an empty bottle from this man? (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz+) We now have a prime minister who can no longer distinguish between his personal interests and Israel’s, someone exhibiting the megalomania of a Chavez and the paranoia of a Nixon.
ZOA opposes election slate that promotes BDS (Morton Klein and Elizabeth Berney, Israel Hayom) The Zionist Organization of America sets the record straight.
Patriotism according to Netanyahu (Tami Arad, Yedioth/Ynet) As far as Israel's prime minister is concerned, there is no such thing as a political center: If you are a leftist, you are no patriot; and if you claim to be a centrist, you are a leftist in disguise. 
Guilt by association? (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Labor leader Isaac Herzog denies any connection to OneVoice and the Victory 2015 campaign, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman's flirtation with the Left ends. V15's attacks on PM's wife backfire.
The Republicans will be no tougher on Iran than Obama (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) Their bluster and tough-talk may fool Israel's prime minister, but when it comes to actions, the Republicans lack resolve. 
The return of Fatah-sponsored terrorism (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) After laying down their arms in 2007, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- the military wing of the Palestinian Fatah party -- have resumed terrorist activity. They vow that the armed struggle with Israel will only intensify.
Who are you, Netanyahu voters? And why? (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) For the second time, Likud is not even bothering to publish a party platform ahead of the elections, belaying a supreme level of condescension for voters. 

'Israel is the mirror of the world'
Jean Plantureux, Le Monde's chief cartoonist and close friend of the Charlie Hebdo attack victims, believes that by understanding Israel can the French understand their own society; due to arrive in Jerusalem next week, he wants to see the French condemn anti-Semitism as they did the attack on the famous magazine. (Interviewed by Elad Zeret in Ynet)
'I don't compromise on history'
Most Israelis only encounter Jamal Zahalka, the head of the Arab party Balad, on television. Dror Eydar sat down with him for a surprising conversation. Zionism raped history, he asserts, but refuses to recognize the truth behind Temple Mount archeology. (Interviewed by Dror Eydar in Israel Hayom)

'How dare you call us traitors?'
V15 founders Itamar Weizman and Nimrod Dweck have had a boost in recent days thanks to accusations from Likud; but the two insist they are non-partisan and that the claims against them are ridiculous. (Interviewed by Yehuda Shohat in Ynet)

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