News Nosh 02.11.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday February 11, 2015

Number of the day:
Percent of Israelis who think chances of another politically-motivated murder occurring in Israel have risen, according to Peace Now poll.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “To wake up in the morning to nothing” – The dismissed employees of Negev (factories) speak about the desperation and the humiliation
  • The protest of the authors – Call on Prime Minister to retract his decision to reject judges on committee choosing winners of Israel Prize in Literature: “Flagrant political intervention”
  • It’s impossible to recognize her: Uma Thurman underwent plastic surgery
  • Real love – Yochi and Meiri tell how they got interested in each other on a reality show and how many children they are planning
  • Purim bunny – From year to year, the Purim costumes of little girls become more exposing
  • The gamble payed off – Businessman Avi Shaked on the way to a billion-shekel exit: He sold his gambling company, “888”
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “I’m not looking for a fight, I’m fulfilling my duty” – Dispute among US Jews: “Silence in the face of the Iranian threat – is like silence during the Holocaust”
  • The historic meeting: this is what is important // Boaz Bismuth
  • Attorney General: Rabbi Metzger will be put on criminal trial pending a hearing
  • The battle over the Israel Prize
  • The experts regret: “The suggestions to avoid butter – were not based”
  •  US confirmed: The American woman kidnapped by ISIS was killed; Causes of death unclear
  • The storm is already here: Haze, sand storms, heavy rains – and also snow
  • Likely: Danny Biton, father of singer Eyal Golan, will admit to a series of sex crimes

Election 2015 Polls:
Maariv's traveling ballot - now in Beersheva: Victory for the right-wing along with frustration and disappointment.
As with previous elections the Likud wins in the capital of the Negev with 36% of votes, only 15% for Herzog-Livni’s Zionist Camp, 9% for Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi, 4% for Yesh Atid and 5% for Shas, despite the surprising support it got from the Bedouin sector. Maariv notes that the Herzog-Livni combination got 2% more votes than the Labor and Hatnua got combine in the 2013 elections in Beersheva and Likud got 2% less. Habayit Hayehudi got 3% less in the Beersheva poll this elections.
Knesset Channel Poll: Tie between Likud and Zionist Camp with 23 seats each. Habayit Hayehudi, Yesh Atid and the Joint Arab List each received 12 seats. (Maariv)
News Summary:
Maariv led with the crazy hazy weather, Yedioth with the laid-off workers in the Negev, but the main stories in all the papers were the “serious dispute” between the Israeli and US leaders over the negotiations with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ‘political intervention’ in the esteemed Israel Prize and the Attorney General’s likely decision to dismiss the petition to reject Arab MK Hanin Zouebi’s candidacy to run in the upcoming elections. Barely mentioned in the news was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' vow to restart peace talks and the opening of a Palestinian embassy in Sweden. Meanwhile the European Union plans to step up sanctions on settlements.
Netanyahu repeated Tuesday that he was determined to address Congress, and now Patrick Leahy, the most veteran and ‘key’ Democrat Senator in Congress said he won’t show up, calling it “'a tawdry and high-handed stunt that has embarrassed not only Israel but the Congress itself.” Yedioth wrote that now “it wasn’t clear who in the end would be there to hear him” after so many have declared they are boycotting the event. Yedioth printed photos of each of the 12 Congressmen and women and the Vice President who have all said they won’t attend.
Netanyahu insisted his speech was important because Congress may have a deciding role in the agreement being formulated between the world powers and Iran. The pro-Israel pro-peace J Street lobby urged the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu, to postpone the address. Yedioth noted that Jewish organizations are also opposing Netanyahu’s speech. J Street is running a campaign called whose title is “I’m a Jew. Bibi, you don’t speak for me” or #BibiDoesntSpeakForMe, to show that Netanyahu may be speaking in the name of Israelis – but not in the name of the Jews of the US. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog promised that his first mission as prime minister will be to mend ties with the US. 
The judges for the prestigious Israel Prize for Literature have resigned after Netanyahu disqualified two judges, in what the papers say was 'political meddling.' Some said Netanyahu was attempting to prevent David Grossman from receiving prize because of leftist views.
Right-wing parties are preparing for the vote will take place in the Elections Committee Thursday over whether to reject MK Hanin Zouabi's candidacy to run in elections, and the Joint Arab List was pressuring the Herzog-Livni Zionist Camp not to support her rejection, Maariv reported. Israel Hayom reported that the Zionist Camp has already 'zig-zagged,' declaring that it won't support her rejection after previously stating it would. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein likely will recommend against her rejection after she signed an affidavit saying she has never supported armed struggle against Israel. 
In Sweden, Abbas vowed to revive peace talks with Israel and the Swedes and Palestinians forged deeper ties with a enormous Swedish aid package and a Palestinian embassy opened last night in Stockholm.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu is visiting the isolated Eli settlement in northern West Bank today in order to woo right-wing voters from Habayit Hayehudi party, The Jerusalem Post and Maariv reported. Mertz Party head MK Zahava Gal-On slammed Netanyahu, calling him the “prime minister of the settlers and right wing extremists” and saying he “has lost his international standing and is now doing everything he can to provoke the international community into isolating Israel from the world.”
An EU official told some of the Hebrew media that the EU is planning to step up sanctions on Israeli settlements after elections. The assumption in Europe is that Israel will elect a rightist government, which will make it easier to advance sanctions.  “There is deep frustration in Europe that returning to the negotiation table with the Palestinians does not have a more significant place in the election campaigning in Israel,” an EU official told Maariv. “It can already be understood that negotiations with the Palestinians won’t happen soon.” The Palestinian Authority has urged the international community to do more than just condemn Israel’s  latest West Bank expansion plans.

Quick Hits:
  • UN chief "Year of solidarity with the Palestinians has become a terrible year for them and the Israelis" - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, issued a special letter in which discussed the situation in the Middle East and laid the blame also on the international community: "Failure in promoting a solution." (Maariv
  • **Peace Now poll: Nearly half of Israelis think odds of political murders increased - 75% of Israelis say law enforcement authorities not doing enough to combat political incitement; Netanyahu viewed as inciting figure, while Rivlin seen as mitigating factor. (Ynet)
  • Yesh Atid's Piron tried to steer funds to school tied to big U.S. donor - Former education minister attempted to transfer $258,000 to an overseas school run by his long-standing donor, the daughter of Michael Steinhardt, documents show. (Haaretz+)
  • Two (Israeli) smugglers killed in exchange of fire on Israel-Egypt border - Israeli and Egyptian forces open fire after identifying smuggling attempt. According to Walla! News, IDF Givati soldiers killed them. (Haaretz+, Maan and Walla)
  • Israeli forces raid Abu Dis protest camp for 5th time - The camp was built in protest against an Israeli plan to build Jewish-only settlements in the E1 corridor east of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho where Palestinian Bedouins have been living for decades. (Maan
  • Lapid vows to nationalize the Jewish National Fund - After failed battle with quasi-governmental organization as finance minister last year, Lapid promises to take reform a step further in move he says will weed out corruption. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Arab list may seek place on sensitive Knesset security committee - ‘It is impossible to expose classified material to MKs who praise Azmi Bishara,’ says Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli forces demolish Palestinian (Israeli Arab) home in Lod - Hundreds of Palestinian residents gathered to support the Hana al-Naqib and her four children, with dozens of Israeli security personnel present at the demolition. A family member said family owns land since 1948, but homeowner could not appeal court decision due to financial difficulties. (Maan
  • AG rejects petition to bar broadcast of Netanyahu's Congress speech - Weinstein notes the speech concerning the Iran nuclear threat is newsworthy and of interest to the public, and does not constitute as forbidden election propaganda. (Ynet)
  • Nearly half of eligible Israeli voters are under 40 - Central Bureau of Statistics report show there are 5.3 million eligible voters living in Israel, a 4.5% increase over the 2013 elections. (Ynet)
  • Israel’s economy improving 
for ultra-Orthodox Jews, Arabs, but not fast enough, OECD says - OECD calls for better education, more economic competition. (Haaretz+)
  • Bilingual Arabic-Hebrew 1st-grade class to open in Jaffa - In compromise with parents, city will open the class in existing school, to be run by nonprofit Hand in Hand. Haifa parents also seek expansion of bilingual education. (Haaretz+)
  • [Right-wing NGO report:] 'NGOs involved in Israeli-Arab conflict get $27M in foreign aid' - Foreign governments are heavily involved in funding organizations directly or indirectly involved in BDS campaigns, (right-wing organization) ‘NGO Monitor’ report finds. EU the largest donor, followed by Norway. Report urges legal measures to bolster transparency. (Israel Hayom)
  • Rights organizations losing Gaza battle against Hamas teen recruitment camps - With tens of thousands of Gaza children still lacking any kind of stable framework, Hamas’ military training camps have become a hit. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli forces detain (7th) Gaza businessman at Erez crossing - The organization "Hossam" said in a statement that Hussam Nouredin was detained at Erez crossing, becoming the seventh Palestinian businessman to be arrested at the crossing since the beginning of the year. (Maan)
  • U. of Calif. student association votes to divest from Israel, U.S. - The University of California Student Association passed two resolutions backing measures to divest funds from several countries, citing human rights violations against Palestinians. (JTA, Haaretz
  • Israeli trade with Turkey surges - And Palestinian Authority foods firms present at Dubai convention. (Haaretz+)
  • Erdogan: I'm a chauvinist? Look at the Jews! - While accepting award, Turkish president strikes back at critics of his anti-feminist claims, takes aim at Jews: 'Why don't you raise your voice against the Jews who thank God they were not created as women?' (Ynet
  • Israeli military to ban use of 'smart apparel' to prevent leaks - IDF will soon prohibit the use of smartwatches, rings, glasses, fitness tracking wristbands and shoes in classified settings, Israel Hayom learns. IDF: Microphones, cameras, GPS systems and more can be activated by the enemy without the owner knowing. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli ex-military elite raises $18m to develop cyber startups - Investors including Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco are betting on the experience and connections of the 8200 army intelligence unit. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF's only lone soldier from Japan earns red paratrooper's beret - Sol Kikuchi: "Both of my parents are very encouraging. I have just finished the first stage of my training, I got the red beret, and I am already looking forward to joining my friends in the platoon and doing real operational duty once this furlough is over." (Israel Hayom)
  • Wikipedia co-founder to receive $1 million Israeli prize - Jimmy Wales named as 2015 Dan David Prize laureate in the 'Present: The Information Revolution' category, in honor of him launching world's largest online encyclopedia. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Investigation into Tunisian tennis player's alleged refusal to play Israeli dropped - Malek Jaziri said he withdrew from tournament because of an injury, but international tennis body decided to probe because in 2013 he withdrew from a match against an Israeli opponent. (Haaretz)
  • Jerusalem Prize winning author doesn’t bow to pressure - Albanian exile Ismail Kadare finds it ‘embarrassing’ that campaigns tried to stop predecessors from accepting award. (Haaretz+)
  • Nazi Torah scroll drum brought from Poland to Israel - The drum was found by a Holocaust commemoration group when the estate of a deceased former member of the Hitler Youth was put on sale. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Islamic State hostage appears in new propaganda film - Captive British journalist John Cantlie says latest propaganda film, "Inside Aleppo," will be "last film in this series." Film includes interview with French militant who calls on French Muslims to carry out attacks and "kill with knives." (Israel Hayom)
  • Obama confirms death of US hostage held by ISIS - American president promises US will bring terrorists responsible for Kayla Mueller's captivity to justice, says aid worker epitomized spirit of compassion and dedication. (Ynet)
  • Family of late American hostage Mueller releases text of letter - In letter from Islamic State captivity, Kayla Mueller told family 'I am not breaking down, I will not give in no matter how long it takes'. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Sinai terrorists linked with ISIS decapitate 10 alleged Israeli and Egyptian spies - The terrorists beheaded the alleged spies, then dumped the bodies on a road in the northern Sinai. (Jerusalem Post and Maariv)
  • WATCH: 'Egypt's Jon Stewart' and the real Stewart come up with a plan to fix the Middle East - Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef on what the U.S. should do to help in the Middle East: 'How about nothing!' (Haaretz)

U.S. idealist Kayla Mueller's road to ISIS captivity went through West Bank
'Do not be fooled, resistance lives,' wrote Mueller while defending Palestinians in 2010; her death in Syria was confirmed Tuesday. (Danna Harman, Haaretz+)

How dare Netanyahu speak in the name of America's Jews? (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Benjamin Netanyahu has nothing in common with the vast majority of American Jews, seven out of ten of which voted for a man he implicitly demonized as 'anti-Israel'; but he still intends to speak as their representative before Congress. 
Arab-Israeli peace initiative is the only way (Danny Yatom, Yedioth/Ynet) There is no way to solve the poverty, education, housing, welfare and health issues other than through a regional peace agreement.
Israel’s Arabs and liberals are no great leftists (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) The ‘leftists’ only want to find favor in the eyes of the West, while the Arabs are only looking for honorific titles in the Knesset.
Obama can't oust Netanyahu like Bush did Shamir (Amiel Ungar, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's 'mishandled' ties with Obama are unlikely to prompt voters to opt for his opponent.
An exercise in futility (Dr. Aviad Hacohen, Israel Hayom) The courts are loath to bar parties or individuals from vying for the Knesset, and motions seeking this only play into the hands of contentious elements. 
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.
Bennett is right about Arab crime rates (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Habayit Hayehudi chairman's comments about deteriorating internal security in Israel were neither inciting nor racist; they are a reflection of reality, which he is responsible for too.
Get real: Obama's prayer breakfast speech never really trampled on Christian or American values (Michael Felsen, Haaretz+) By acknowledging regrettable chapters in his own religion's past, the U.S. president implicitly calls on members of other faiths to do the same: confront those who appropriate religion for power and control, like ISIS, Boko Haram and Al-Qaida.
The good old monopoly days (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) In just a few years Israel Hayom has succeeded in breaking Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz's monopoly over knowledge and information in Israel.

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