News Nosh 02.15.15

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday February 15, 2015

Number of the day:

Portion of children under age 16 who were killed in a review of 247 Israeli airstrikes on homes in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge.**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom


News Summary:
The refusal of David Grossman, Haim Beer and Sami Michael, candidates of the prestigious Israel Prize, to retract their withdrawal after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu retracted his disqualification of two judges and the terror attack at a free speech lecture in Copenhagen killing one civilian were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. What some of the papers ignored was the admission and arrest of a policeman in the recent shooting and killing of a young Bedouin man.
The attack in Copenhagen, although on the front pages, was reported on in the center of the Hebrew newspapers. The Israeli Prize scandal and the latest on electioneering were the top stories. The Israeli papers had already gone to print when a volunteer Jewish guard was shot dead and two police were wounded Saturday night from shots fired at a synagogue in central Copenhagen. The possible suspect was shot dead by Danish police this morning. The papers, however, reported on the attack, likely by the same man earlier Saturday at a cafe which hosted a debate on freedom of speech and was attended by Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who has been threatened with death for depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a dog. (Interestingly: The Ynet article does not mention the vilifying aspect of the cartoons, but the Yedioth article did go into detail to describe them.) 
Maariv reported that due to the situation in Europe, the Israeli government will consider a new program to bring a significant increase in the number of immigrants from France and Ukraine, due to a sharp increase from those countries who wish to immigrate to Israel.

Only Maariv and Haaretz+ bothered to report the latest in the story in the killing of a young Bedouin man, which sparked mass protests among Negev Bedouin, causing the death of another man: On Thursday, a police officer admitted to shooting and killing Sami al-Ja’ar of Rahat and was arrested. Nevertheless, on Friday a Jerusalem District Court ordered him released on grounds that the cause of death had not been determined.  However, the High Court returned the officer to custody Saturday. Haaretz+ reported that the officer’s identity has not been made public and his family is under protection since his arrest following threats on his life and theirs. Maariv, which has been following this story closely [unlike the shoddy job by Yedioth's reporter - OH] reported that the commander in charge of investigations of the police called Al-Ja’ar’s father, Khaled and told him: "I want to tell you that one of the policemen tied himself to the shooting and admitted shooting your son. We'll come later in the day to inform you exactly what happened.” Khaled cried and told Maariv, “It won’t bring Sami back to life, but at least there is a person to blame in the death of my son.  He will be punished. I point an accusing finger at (the officer’s) commanders and all those who covered up for him until now and accused us of false claims.” Sami was shot dead while police made a drug raid operation near his home, during which a commotion broke out. Police had originally claimed that locals had opened fire at them, which the locals denied.]

Quick Hits:

  • IDF intelligence assessment: Palestinian Authority could collapse at any moment - Intelligence sources: Israel’s non-transfer of funds to Ramallah threatens the stability of the area, while terrorist organizations strengthen infrastructure and increase incitement. The army and the Shin Bet indicate the month of April as a critical date. (Friday Maariv
  • **Report finds high civilian death toll during Gaza war - The Associated Press examined 247 airstrikes that hit residential compounds, out of the some 5,000 Israeli strikes during the summer conflict. (Associated Press, Haaretz
  • UN official warns of further conflict in Gaza - Official urges Israel to lift blockade and Palestinians to end in-fighting; calls for additional $705 million in humanitarian aid. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • VIDEO: IDF stop Palestinian teen crossing Gaza border into Israel - Ynet's military reporter was with IDF forces near the border with Gaza when they were alerted that a Palestinian was illegally crossing into Israel. The following video offers an inside look into the challenges faced by the IDF in securing Israel as more and more Gazans attempt to flee a dismal life in Gaza Strip. (Ynet)
  • Israeli judge: Some Palestinian minors see jail sentence as way of escaping home - Jurist and attorneys call for more sympathetic handling of cases in which youngsters deliberately seek arrest to flee domestic unhappiness. (Haaretz+) 
  • Settler group's new video: Money-grabbing leftists playing into European Nazis' hands - WATCH | The Samaria Residents' Council's new viral campaign has a very clear message: The Europeans were and remain Nazis. (Haaretz+)
  • Settlers aim to form pro-Israel PAC in French parliament - Samaria Regional Council representatives attempt to recruit French lawmakers to hasbara efforts, urge them to prevent ban on products from Israeli companies. (Ynet
  • Israel balks before evicting Bedouin in West Bank community - The Civil Administration says the legal process must determine if prefab homes there are illegal. (Haaretz+)
  • Friends of 11-year-old firebomb victim to UN: Condemn burners of children - Schoolmates of Ayala Shapira, who was seriously wounded by Molotov cocktail thrown at her parents’ car, call on Ban Ki-moon to ‘speak out against terrorists’. (Ynet)
  • Former deputy minister discusses deal to oust Netanyahu - Faina Kirshenbaum: Yisrael Beytenu, Yesh Atid, and Kulanu talked about forming a centrist bloc that would bring in the Likud if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resigned. Says investigation into Yisrael Beytenu is a "targeted assassination." (Israel Hayom)
  • Rachel Corrie's family loses appeal to Israel's Supreme Court - Family of U.S. peace activist wanted Israel to pay civil damages for her 2003 death after being run over by military bulldozer in Gaza. (JTA, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Over 100 U.K. artists announce cultural boycott of Israel - According to letter signed by luminaries such as Brian Eno and Ken Loach, ban includes accepting professional invitations to Israel or funds from government-linked institutions. (Haaretz)
  • U.K. prime minister announces $4.9 million for British-Israeli medical research - Wednesday's announcement comes at a time of vocal but fringe support from British academics for a boycott of Israeli institutions. (Haaretz)
  • 'Know your enemy': Palestinian reporters tackle Hebrew - Palestinian journalists taking Hebrew language course at Ramallah college in bid to better cover conflict, read Israel. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Sayeret Matkal wins army's annual combat fitness competition - Shaldag, the air force's special operations unit, takes second place in special forces category, while naval commandos, Shayetet 13, take third place. This year's event was held on the shortest notice ever, as units were given just one week to prepare. (Israel Hayom)
  • Arab-led Joint List calls for unity in face of 'ugly wave of racism' - ‘Jews and Arabs must stand together’ says MK Dov Khenin of the Hadash faction. (Haaretz+)
  • Joint Arab party hopes for 15 seats in upcoming elections - Arab politicians credit hard-line FM Lieberman for forcing the three Arab parties to run together on one list for first time in Israel's history, after he pushed to raise elections threshold. (Ynet
  • Meretz leader Gal-On attacks: Leaders of ‘Zionist Camp’ are washed out imitations of Netanyahu - Gal-On is trying to differentiate itself her party from Herzog and Livni: "The public wants to replace Netanyahu. But we don’t need to change the government in order to say (about the Palestinians) that ‘there is no partner,' like Livni and (Zionist Camp candidate) Amos Yadlin say.” (Maariv)  
  • Netanyahu's newest election video: The left is good for ISIS - Zionist Union said in response to the clip that 'Netanyahu lives in a fantasy if he thinks we've forgotten his colossal failure in the area of security.' (Haaretz+)
  • Yuval Diskin responds to Likud’s ‘ISIS clip’ election video: “Netanyahu has lost his shame” - Former Shin Bet chief wrote in response to the video of the ruling party, "What is the man who freed Ahmed Yassin in 1997 and was unable to defeat a terrorist organization in Gaza talking about?" Accuses Netanyahu of allowing Hamas to rebuild. (Maariv and Ynet)
  • Show of force – After the collapse of the agreement between Netanyahu and Bennett not to attack each other, the sides are intensifying their moves. After not visiting Judea and Samaria (West Bank) for a long time (last week’s visit to Eli settlement excluded), Netanyahu is planning a charged visit to Hebron, Habayit Hayehudi party stronghold. Habayit Hayehudi’s Ayelet Shaked: “Suddenly he is visiting Samaria and becoming a right-winger.” (Yedioth, p. 4)
  • Left-wing media trying to split the Right, Netanyahu says - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticizes Yedioth Ahronoth for trying to install the Left in power using false reports suggesting Likud, Habayit Hayehudi are at odds. MK Ofir Akunis: Left waging pathetic, brutal smear campaign against PM, Likud. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Election Updates / Lieberman: Arab Knesset members' sole ideology seeks Israel's destruction - 30 days to go: Kulanu candidate Maj. Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant vows to win next Gaza war; Labor MKs accuse Netanyahu of distracting voters with political spin. (Haaretz)
  • IDF medics treating wounded Syrians battle mental toll - Ever since Israel opened its border to Syrians wounded in the country's civil war, the IDF has provided medical aid to thousands, many in serious condition; medics say traumatic scenes have taken their toll, causing mental anguish. (Ynet)
  • Palestinians want role in probe of killings of North Carolina Muslims - Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemns the murders of three young Muslims as terrorism, says incident suggests a rise in discrimination against American Muslims. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Ancient tablets displayed in Jerusalem fuel looting debate - Babylonian tablets dating back 2,500 years from present-day Iraq on display at Jerusalem museum become part of thorny archaeological debate over how to handle historically significant relics thought to be dug up Mideast antiquities robbers. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Classified report: Israel's Foreign Ministry sees little chance of Iran nuclear deal by March - Intelligence report written by Ministry’s Sarit Young and obtained by Haaretz contradicts statements made by Netanyahu that the parties were close to signing an agreement by the end of March. Report calls remarks by Iranian supreme leader 'uncompromising.' (Haaretz+)
  • Wiesel to Obama: Join me in hearing Netanyahu's case against a nuclear Iran - In full-page ad in N.Y. Times and Washington Post, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor supports Netanyahu's upcoming speech to Congress "on the catastrophic danger of a nuclear Iran."  Rabbi Boteach: Wiesel is a living prince of the Jews. (Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Iranian leader Khamenei sent Obama a secret letter - Citing an Iranian diplomat, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Iranian cleric had written to Obama in recent weeks in response to a presidential letter sent in October. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Former IDF commander: Unlike Netanyahu, Herzog will have courage to attack Iran - MK Omer Bar-Lev of the Zionist Camp says his party's leader will have the courage the PM lacks to use the military option to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state. (Ynet)
  • Middle East Updates / Jordan sentences Muslim Brotherhood leader to 18 months for criticizing UAE - Gunmen kill policeman in Egypt's Nile Delta; Turkish court remands 17 policemen to face wiretapping trial. (Haaretz)
  • Japanese dancers cancel Israel trip, fearing Islamic State - Dancers pull out of belly dancing festival in Eilat following murder of two Japanese hostages by IS. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel sees 16% drop in tourists in January - Incoming tourism industry fails to recover from crisis which began during Gaza conflict; economic crisis in Russia leads to 71% drop in one-day visits. (Ynet)
  • Officials: U.S. moving to resupply Jordan's military with munitions - The State Department and Pentagon declined comment on any future moves to assist Jordan with requests for weapons but several U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that planning was well underway. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Palestinian journalists increasingly find themselves in the line of IDF fire
A Palestinian cameraman was shot by an Israeli soldier in December while filming a demonstration in the West Bank. It's still unclear if the Israeli authorities will investigate. (Amira Hass, Haaretz+)

Israel’s ban of Arab lawmaker from election is unjust (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Haneen Zoabi is simply being politically persecuted, but the disqualification of far-rightist Baruch Marzel might hold water. 
Gantz stamped his mark on IDF, for good and bad (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) The 20th IDF chief of staff will be remembered for his role in bolstering Israel's air force and intelligence capabilities, to the detriment of the ground forces. 
Isaac Herzog’s nerves would stymie him as prime minister (Raviv Drucker, Haaretz+) I’ll take the Labor Party leader any day over Benjamin Netanyahu, not that Herzog has the guts to take a risk. 
Meretz or United Torah Judaism? (Ariel Rubinstein, Yedioth/Ynet) As a person who cares about the continued existence of the Jewish people and seeks to uproot nationalism from the Israeli society, I have two parties to choose from.
The most heinous crime in Israel is anti-Zionism (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) There is a boundary to freedom of expression in Israel – and that boundary is Zionism.
The right call (Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Legislators and judges are not supposed to surrender and let the country's fifth column jeopardize its existence.
Assad and Hezbollah are taking advantage of rebels' weakness (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) While Syrian president and Iran-backed forces are indeed advancing towards Israeli-Syrian border, their inability to defeat rebels is preventing them from reaching their next goal – opening a front against Israel from Syria.
If Herzog wants a revolution, here's what he has to say (Bernard Avishai, Haaretz+) Imagine if the Labor leader finally stopped allowing Benjamin Netanyahu to set the terms of debate and delivered this speech. 
Israel's BDS: Bounce, develop, surge (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) Israel's booming economy, reflecting brainpower and ‎tenacity, has benefitted the world, and the U.S. in particular. 
Managing the conflict the wrong way (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) The Likud's policy of managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than attempting to solve it right now is realistic and responsible, but is being implemented very poorly. 
The US-Israel divide (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) The cultural gap that exists between Americans and Israeli goes beyond the different languages they speak, and the current spat between Israel and the US is all about divides.  
Lieberman's peace plan is a subversive, dangerous scheme (Yuli Tamir, Haaretz+) Avigdor Lieberman's plan appears straightforward: territory for Palestine in exchange for territory for Israel. But it would delegitimize Israel as a democratic state and turn its Arabs into little more than a bargaining chip. 
The existential threat as a pillar of Israeli policy (Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz+) Who will save Israel when the chief of staff and the head of the Mossad are as weak and compliant as the current attorney general? 
Death by peace seminar (Gonen Ginat, Israel Hayom) Egypt is sending their best fighters to kill Islamists in Sinai, but they don't have the ultimate weapon: A seminar titled "Peace Is Made with Enemies."
The Zionist (Camp) Union is the poor man’s Likud (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Anyone wishing to replace this government must first of all take a strong stand against the transformation of Israel into an apartheid state.
Obama's 'papal infallibility' (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) The four Jews who were killed in Paris were killed precisely because of "who they were." They did not "randomly happen to be" anywhere.
The real scandal of the Israel Prize (Benny Ziffer, Haaretz+) Forget the chaos that beset us this week: The genuine problem of the coveted literature award lies in its chronic irrelevance and total disconnect from reality.
Jabotinsky himself wouldn't qualify for the Israel Prize (Ariana Melamed, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is destroying yet another corner of independent thought within state institutions. 
The White House presents: Fatal Attraction (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) President Obama is trying to forge his legacy, but is doing so at the expense of his allies in the region. Meanwhile, the Iranians are rubbing their eyes in disbelief at an American administration falling over itself to meet their nuclear demands.
Netanyahu speaks for all Jews whether they like it or not (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) It's too late to say now that Netanyahu isn't speaking in the name of Jews around the world. He’s been doing it for years and very few have spoken out. 
Bob Simon's memorable and tragically prophetic Israel story (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Bob Simon will be remembered in Israel for covering the historic sweep of Middle East history during his impressive career as a foreign correspondent. The late CBS correspondent and tennis buddy to Yitzhak Rabin was at one time more famous in Israel than he was in the U.S.



Ex-ambassadors urge Netanyahu to cut speech
Of 6 former Israeli ambassadors to US interviewed, 5 believe trip to Washington will damage relations as well as the prime minister's own standing. (Interviewed together by Nehama Duek in Friday’s Yedioth/Ynet)


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