News Nosh 12.1.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday December 01, 2013


Quote of the day:

"We are troubled by anyone who is not Jewish: Arabs, migrants and even Druze who serve in the army. Therefore we agree to the short line for Jews only and to ignore the obstacle course reserved for the others....We are so concerned with protecting ourselves, we are losing our humanity."
--Yedioth's legal affairs reporter and former judge Boaz Okun on Israel's refusal to allow Druze soldiers enter Israel's nuclear research center as part of a military training exercise.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Following expose in Yedioth - The insult and the apology - Shock in the Druze community from refusal to allow soldiers to enter the Nuclear Research Center - Israeli elite to Druze: We are sorry we humiliated you at the reactor
  • Racism test // Boaz Okun
  • The Bedouin took to the streets - Protest against regulation of Bedouin communities in Israel rose to another level
  • (Former chief rabbi suspected of fraud) Metzger to associates: You take the guilt on you and get $1 million
  • Summer weather during Hannukah - Warm today and tomorrow, rain from Wednesday
  • Precedent: Woman to pay man from whom she stole sperm


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
Protests across Israel against the Prawer plan to relocate Negev Bedouin turned violent making the top story in today's Hebrew papers. But also in the news, the Israeli elite slammed the discrimination of Druze soldiers, a volunteer Border Policeman shot dead a young Palestinian migrant worker in unclear circumstances and the papers discuss the intrigues behind Israel re-joining the UN Human Rights Council and becoming a member of the powerful Western countries group. Meanwhile, Netanyahu heads to Italy to meet with Italian Prime Minister and Pope Francis and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman sets off on his first trips abroad since being reinstated following court acquittal.
With the exception of Haaretz, the newspaper reports and most of the commentary about the demonstrations that took place in Jerusalem, Haifa and at the Hura Junction in the Negev against the Prawer plan to relocate tens of thousands of Bedouin from their homes gave the sense that the Bedouin were wrong and the government was right. Thousands demonstrated, saying that the plan would spark an intifada in Israel. Lieberman reacted saying, "This is a fight over national lands against those trying to steal and forcibly take over the land." The plan is presently in the final stages before passing a second and third reading in the Knesset. In an unusually sharp attack, Arab MK Ahmed Tibi responded to Lieberman's accusations, calling him a fascist, a thief and an insolent immigrant and declared that "Prawer will not pass come what may." (NRG Hebrew) Protesters were violently dispersed in Haifa, as well. Protests also took place in at least 14 other countries in Europe and the Arab World.

**After Druze soldiers were prevented from entering the Nuclear Research Center in Dimona to participate in a security drill, Israeli leaders have come out condemning the discrimination. Netanyahu said, "They are our flesh and blood, they should be treated as equals." Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon branded the incident as outrageous. A Druze Sheikh said the Incident runs contrary to the blood alliance between the Druze and Israel. Yedioth's legal affairs reporter, who himself was a prominent judge, Boaz Okun, wrote that the incident highlights Israel's fear of 'The Other' and that this leads to Apartheid. (See Commentary/Analysis below for translation)
This fear of the Other may be the cause of the killing of a young Palestinian by a volunteer Border Policeman. The Palestinian's death received more attention by the Israeli press than it normally does. The young migrant worker, who had no permit to work in Israel, was shot dead on the edge of a cemetery in Israel where he had run from Border Police on a routine patrol discovered him. The man who shot him was a volunteer who claimed that the migrant brandished a sharp object. The Palestinian's family say he was murdered in cold blood. Maariv/NRG Hebrew said his name was Antar Shibli al-Akra, 24, and he was supposed to get married next month. Haaretz Hebrew reports that during the police investigation into the illegal worker's death, the volunteer was unable to point to the object with which he was allegedly attacked. Until late in the last night, Military Police failed to find the object. At some point in the investigation, the volunteer claimed that actually the dead man did not hold a sharp object, however, the volunteer still claimed he was attacked and that he felt threatened. Military Police think the volunteer's version needs to be examined again in regards to the findings in the field.

Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Eli Bardenstein revealed the diplomatic intrigues behind Israel agreeing to return to being a member of the UN Human Rights Council last week. Israel had two conditions: 1.) that the EU countries do not make any statements under Article 7, which requires that every time the UNHRC meets it holds a separate discussion on the human rights situation in Israel and 2.) that Israel be accepted to the group of Western countries (WEOG). Last week, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made clear to EU Foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton that if Israel did not join the group, it would "bail forever." Although Germany, France and the UK were intent to have Israel join WEOG, other countries wanted to wait till the end of the nine-month negotiation period between the Palestinians and Israelis to see what would be the results. Among them were Ireland and Finland. They said they did not believe Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statements that he wants peace, but Isreali diplomats worked with Ashton people to make clear to them they had to fufill their commitment. The Americans convinced Turks not to oppose. But Sweden continued to oppose. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who wants to replace Ashton, feared that the WEOG will end up being "suckers" if the talks with the Palestinians fail and Israel gets to be a part of the group. Last week, Lieberman called Bildt and held a harsh phone call with him saying they promised to allow Israel to join the WEOG. Bildt said he didn't promise and Lieberman said the EU promised and that Israel could not have been expected to call each and every state. A senior official in the Foreign Ministry told Bardenstein: "This proves that when we insist and don't give in to pressure there are results that serve the Israeli interest." The source also pointed to the compromise found over Israel joining the EU's prestigious Horizon 2020 scientific project. Bardenstein writes that the significance of this diplomatic achievement: Israel can undermine decisions against it. Haaretz's Barak Ravid writes that admission to the Western European and Others Group stands to ease Israel's isolation within the UN.

Quick Hits:

  • Israeli settlers attack Ramallah village under armed guard - Dozens of Israeli settlers raided the village of al-Maghier east of Ramallah late Saturday under protection of the Israeli army. Palestinian residents confronted the settlers by throwing rocks at them, and Israeli forces fired sound bombs and tear gas grenades in response. (Maan)
  • Four suspects arrested Friday on suspicion of attack (that injured) toddler in Jerusalem - The detainees, residents of (E. Jerusalem neighborhood of) Sur Baher, aged 15-20, are suspected of throwing stones at vehicle in Armon Hanatziv (Jewish settlement neighborhood over Green Line in Jerusalem -OH] Thursday injuring Abigail Ben-Zion, 2, in her head. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Palestinian shot, injured in clashes in Jabaliya - A Palestinian man was shot and injured in clashes with Israeli forces near the al-Shuhada cemetery east of Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip on Friday. (Maan)
  • Palestinian family forced to demolish 3 apartments in Jerusalem - A Palestinian family in East Jerusalem had to demolish three apartments they had been building on Saturday after an Israeli court threatened the structures with demolition by the municipality, which the family would have had to pay for at a high fee. (Maan)
  • Israeli policeman assaults Palestinian Al-Aqsa guard - Omar al-Zanaeen, 60, was hospitalized after an Israeli policeman "brutally beat him" near Al-Aqsa's al-Silsila gate, after the policeman reportedly ordered al-Zanaeen to close one of the gate's doors 7:15 p.m. before closing time. (Maan)
  • World Zionist Organization pushing new Jewish towns to 'balance' Arab population in Israel's north - Group plans to settle 100,000 Jews in central Galilee by establishing new towns, expanding existing. (Haaretz)
  • UN marks Palestinian Solidarity day with refugee photo exhibition - As UN announces Year of Solidarity with Palestinian People, UNRWA opens Jerusalem exhibition of photographs of Palestinian refugees. 'Collective memory is a vital element of identity,' UNRWA head says of digital archive which symbolically portrays 1948 images. (YnetPHOTOS)
  • In photos: Thousands gather in Qalandiya to bury slain Palestinian - Thousands took part in a funeral march for Mahmoud Awwad in Qalandiya refugee camp on Friday, a day after the Palestinian man succumbed to wounds inflicted upon him by Israeli soldiers months earlier when they shot him in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet. (Maan)
  • Official: 2 Palestinians sustain canister injuries in Kafr Qaddum; soldiers pepper spray elderly man - Two Palestinian men sustained injuries Friday afternoon after they were hit by high-velocity tear gas canisters as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest against settlement expansion on their land. Additionally, a group of Israeli soldiers reportedly broke into a house in the village and physically assaulted the owner and two other Palestinians. (Maan)
  • UN chief Ban says Israeli settlements 'cause for concern' calls for freeze - UN chief says Friday that tensions between Israelis, Palestinians could threaten peace talks, noting 'There has been escalation of violence, incitement.' (Agencies, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli military lost $14 million worth of equipment in apparent thefts in 2012 - According to the latest IDF figures, 55 weapons and parts of weapons have been stolen so far this year - 17 from soldiers' homes, 21 from various military units and eight from armories. The rest are parts of weapons stolen from a variety of other places. (Haaretz)
  • 3,550 ultra-Orthodox have completed national service - Israel Police intend to absorb no more than 2,200, due to the limited number of police units that do not operate on Shabbat and because haredim cannot be assigned to share a squad car with female officers. (Israel Hayom)
  • First Arab Councilwoman conquered Haifa Municipality - Arin Abady-Zoabi is not only the first Arab woman to serve on the Haifa City Council. Her great-grandfather, Abd al-Rahman al-Haj, was the mayor in the 20's. (Maariv, backpage/NRG Hebrew)
  • Konichiwa Shaloum chan - The Israeli Japanese mascot, or yuru-chara, sparks the interest of many visitors and generates positive buzz around the Israeli embassy in Tokyo. Israel is the first and only country to have developed its own mascot in Japan. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas cancels anniversary celebrations - Ashraf Zayed, a Hamas official, told Ma'an that Hamas canceled its main celebrations and events in the Gaza Strip due to the economic situation in the coastal territory. (Maan)
  • Natalie Portman seeks crowd-funding for Batsheva dance guru documentary - The filmmakers behind a documentary about choreographer Ohad Naharin have taken to Kickstarter in a bid to complete their movie. (Haaretz)
  • Obama invites Casspi to light menorah - First Israeli to play in NBA to visit White House next Thursday for traditional Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony. 'I will represent Israel and the Jewish community,' he says. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Chinese foreign minister to visit Israel in December - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to arrive in Israel on Dec. 17 for meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior cabinet members. Discussions to focus on Iranian threat, West's permanent nuclear deal with Tehran. (Israel Hayom)
  • Amidror subpoenaed in Bank of China lawsuit - Former national security advisor asked to testify in terror funding suit waged by bereaved families. Amidror's testimony is meant to cement state's motion to excuse another security official from testifying in the case on grounds of national security. (Israel Hayom)
  • Egypt panel votes on draft constitution that enshrines army's role in politics - The constitution, expected to be put to a referendum in December, would also ban religious parties. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Anti-Israel plot - Hezbollah arms dealer sentenced to life in Nigeria, two others freed - Weapons found at convict's home were to be used in attacks on Israeli, American targets. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Nigeria court clears 3 suspected Hezbollah members of terror charges - Three Lebanese citizens accused of plotting attacks against Western, Israeli targets in Nigeria deny allegations, cleared of terrorism charges. Court says 'no evidence' suspected Hezbollah operatives panned terror attacks. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Report: Israel, Saudis plotting new computer worm to destroy Iran's nuclear program - Fars News Agency says representatives of Saudi Prince Bandar and Mossad chief Tamir Pardo last week hashed out proposal for production of malware 'worse than Stuxnet.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Rouhani says Iran will intensify nuclear work - Not only is Iran not going to dismantle any of its nuclear facilities as part of an effort to reach a long-term agreement to limit its nuclear development, it will also construct a second nuclear reactor at Bushehr, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Zarif: Iran will not enter nuclear negotiations that include Israel - Implementation of Geneva nuclear deal to start by early January, Iranian envoy says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Mossad seeks proof of Iran breach of nuclear deal - British Sunday Times says Netanyahu ordered Israeli intelligence to find proof of Iran breaking recently-signed deal. 'If smoking gun is produced, it will tumble like house of cards', says Israeli intel source. (Ynet)


The new underground: Israel's Palestinian citizens dance through the culture clash
A bubbling new subculture is taking hold among young Palestinians living in Israel, shrugging off years of fighting for its survival and a traditional image. At the center of this revival is liberal Haifa. From the city, tattooed arms are stretching out throughout the country with bands, bars, parties and everything else that comes with cultural renewal and alternative lifestyles - usually more associated with places like Berlin, New York or Tel Aviv. (By Roy (Chicky) Arad, Haaretz)
A Palestinian woman's reaction to sexual harassment lands her in jail
Muntaha al-Khekh spent four weeks in in jail - some of it in isolation - for striking back after being sexually harassed by an Israeli policeman.  (By Gideon Levy, Haaretz)


The Iran case proves it: Sanctions will get Israel to end the occupation (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) The settlements are an all-Israeli project and the boycott can't be limited to them.
Cynical exploitation of the Bedouin's misery (Doron Almog, Maariv) "This protest has nothing to do with the plight of the Negev Bedouin...It is the product of political demonstrations which have been fanned by Balad and Islamic Movement Arab MKs who aspire to turn the State of Israel into a state of all its citizens, with an Arab majority and administration...Most Bedouin support the arrangement, even though at this stage there is no law, only draft legislation...The Arab politicians' protest does not stem from a genuine interest in the welfare of the Negev Bedouin, but from a political interest that cynically exploits the poverty in which most Negev Bedouin live...The Bedouin are citizens of the State of Israel with equal rights and they certainly deserve a much higher quality of life, for the prosperity of the Negev and for a future of hope for all citizens of the State of Israel - Bedouin, Arabs and Jews alike."
P51 can make peace in Israel, too (Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz) How can we trust this government's judgment when it failed to understand that the aim of the talks was not to bring Iran to its knees? 
Not for Obama, for us (Yossi Shain, Ynet) Weakened US status in Middle East obligates Israel to firmly move towards peace.
Horizon 2020 and Israel-EU settlement compromise: When funding at stake, heaven and earth can be moved (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) That is the message from Israel's decision to join the scientific project, despite the EU boycott on settlements.
Fewer threats in 2014 (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The law does not allow us to report what the cabinet ministers heard from senior intelligence officials as part of the annual evaluation presented to them on Monday. But reliable sources say the ministers left the important meeting, held at the Mossad facility in central Israel, in quite a good mood. Largely optimistic intelligence evaluation includes quite a few causes for concern.
Any agreement is bad for the Jews (Yossi Klein, Haaretz) Whoever enters in negotiations with us, my friend said, knows in advance he has no chance of reaching an agreement - and that's an excellent starting position!
Battle for the face of the country (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth) Hendel writes that the state must, in the end, enforce the law against those who build without permits, and adds, "This is true for settlers who reside on private land and it is true for the deluge of illegal building by Bedouin in the Negev...It would be a mistake to think that this is a dispute over land and money...The struggle is over the face of the State of Israel." Hendel avers that Palestinian nationalist and Islamic extremist sympathizers are setting the tone for the demonstrations and ventures that, "A considerable portion of the Bedouin are looking to integrate within the state, and the damage that these demonstrators are causing them and the fabric of Jewish-Arab relations is tremendous."
Rising violence in West Bank creeping toward Jerusalem (Nir Hasson, Haaretz) Thursday's attack, in which a toddler was wounded, illustrates the growing concern in the so-called 'seam neighborhoods' in the north and south of the capital.
Our international trial (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The European Union's recent treaties prove foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has double standards.
Deliberate isolation - will Netanyahu learn his lesson? (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz) If the prime minister wants Israel to be part of the Free World, he needs to cooperate with the West and accepts its values and norms.
**Racism test (Boaz Okun, Yedioth) Okun writes about the demeaning refusal to let Druze IDF officers and soldiers inside Israel's nuclear reactor, to which the Israeli elite has since apologized. "...This incident is sad because it is not exceptional. The discrimination and the humiliation which is the lot of non-Jews exists frequently under the fig leaf of security needs. How did the IDF headquarters respond to the nuclear research center: "Anyone who enters the nuclear research center must pass a security check at the gate, and that is what happened here." That's also what they say at Ben-Gurion Airport in response to the repeated incidents of humiliation there. That is also the excuse for which they passed the law preventing family unification of Palestinians in Israel. The court accepted the claim that partners coming from the (Palestinian) territories will have more a tendency to support terror, even though this security claim is not very strong. According to statistics that appeared in one of the rulings, between 1994 and 2006, 130,000 Palestinians received permission to reside in Israel, and only a few of them were suspected of security violations. Justice Ayala Procaccia, who was in the minority (against the ruling), did not hesitate to compare the ruling with the result of the notorious ruling in the US vs. KOREMATSU affair, that approved putting US citizens of Japanese descent in closed camps during WWII, based on the general suspicion of treason based on their ethnicity. In the meantime, time has passed and the Americans are sorry for that ruling. (However,) we say it's better to be safe than sorry. That's good advice, but when it is translated into a rule of thumb that identifies Arabs as dangerous then it has turned into a racist guideline. This security axiom is our entry card to the land of Apartheid, where the suspicion, the examination and the separation of minorities seems normal and normative to us if it is wrapped in 'security' reasons. We are bothered by anyone who is not Jewish: Arabs, migrants and even Druze who serve in the army. Therefore we agree to the short line for Jews only and to ignore the obstacle course reserved for the others....We are so concerned with protecting ourselves, we are losing our humanity."
Obama throwing Iranian people under the bus (James Kirchick, Haaretz) Why didn't the U.S. insist on linking the nuclear deal with an Iranian commitment to end its systematic abuse of human rights?
Persian perestroika (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) All is fair in Obama's drive for grand reconciliation with Islam, including battering critics with insinuations of disloyalty, dual loyalty and warmongering.
Israel dare not presume to say what is good for America (Amir Oren, Haaretz) Israel must learn the lesson of punishment and deterrence rather than seek to outwit or prevail over its ally.
If they will it, Israel's center-left parties can rule (Niva Lanir, Haaretz) Yesh Atid, Hatnuah, Labor and Meretz have the power to create a preelection bloc that would account for at least 61 of the Knesset's 120 seats. 
Luckily, we don't believe Bibi (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) We are tired of the professional scare-mongers, for whom imposing perpetual fear is the basis of their rule.
Bibi, don't jump (yet) (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) We shouldn't push the U.S. too far; there is no other country that supports us and protects us, including from being foolish.
The right's childish fear of death (Yair Assulin, Haaretz) The political right in Israel lacks the ability to let things go. It burrows deeper and deeper into what will, in any event, happen.


Peres: I have no plans to return to politics
President Shimon Peres, who is currently visiting Mexico, tells Israel Hayom: "If Iran fails to uphold the agreement, Obama must fulfill his commitment to pursue a military option...Let's target a policy, not a nation," he says. (Interviewed by Yoni Yalon in Israel Hayom)

Noughts and (Red) crosses: There'll be a solution, even in Hebron
Patricia Giotta, 37, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the southern West Bank, says Israelis and Palestinians have more in common than differences. (Interviewed by Ayelett Shani in Haaretz) Excerpts:
Tell me about your day-to-day life here in Hebron.
I live in the H1 [Palestinian-controlled] sector of Hebron. Every morning I come to the office. Sometimes there are meetings in Jerusalem and sometimes I go into the field. We also hold meetings here, and people come to ask for assistance. I finish work around 7 P.M. and go home. I feel close to the Israeli mentality, but I think the situation here has gone on too long.
Do you think there is a solution?
I think that there is no situation that will not be resolved sooner or later. My grandmother used to say, "Nothing lasts for more than 100 years." When I told her she was wrong, that there are things like that, she would reply, "Yes, but by then you are dead." So I think that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be resolved, in one way or another.
What do you think about Israeli society?
I see a big difference from what I saw in my previous visit, in 2007. Israeli society has become far more closed.
What do you mean?
Less open to discussion, more insular. The last time we were here, we were not very discreet, we went around with identifying emblems and Red Cross signs everywhere, and people would come up and start to talk to us and ask questions. Today that hardly happens.

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