News Nosh 11.24.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday November 24, 2013


Quote of the day:

"There are two issues that are the most fateful for this country and, of course, for me: education and peace. The subject of security I leave to the generals. Everyone else needs to be dealing mainly with these two issues."
--Dov Lautman told Yedioth financial reporter Gad Lior, who wrote in today's paper upon Lautman's death how much he admired him and how he never met anyone like him before.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


Peace Talk Highlights:
The newly elected Labor party leader said he would not join the Netanyahu government because it would not do what is necessary to make peace with the Palestinians and the Palestinian President said he would agree to speak at the Knesset if allowed to say what he wanted. And a great and beloved Israeli industrialist died yesterday, but not all the papers talked about his work for peace.
After winning the leadership of the Labor party by a landslide Thursday and ousting its incumbent Shelly Yachimovich, Isaac Herzog told Channel 2's 'Meet the Press,' "There is no point entering the Netanyahu government in its current composition. Does he have a government that will agree to evacuate settlements? This is a paralyzed coalition. There is no reason or logic to sit in it."

In an interview Friday with Voice of Russia radio, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would address the Knesset, but not on the terms of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. "If he wants to invite me to say what I want to say, I am ready to go," said Abbas, but only "in order to say what I want to say and not what he wants to hear." Netanyahu invited him last week to address the parliament on condition "he recognize the relationship between the Jews and the Land of Israel" - meaning that he must declare he recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. Asked when he thinks a Palestinian state will be completely ready, Abbas said it will be ready when Israel is convinced of the necessity to create and maintain peace in the Middle East. "At that point, there will be an independent Palestinian state and holy Jerusalem will be its capital," Abbas said.

**Industrialist, educator and man of peace, Dov Lautman died yesterday of ALS. The right-wing tabloids Israel Hayom and Maariv barely mentioned his dedication to advancing peace between Israel and its neighbors or his commitment to equality and economic empowerment for Israel's Arab citizens. Haaretz barely mentioned it, as well (!). However, Yedioth did discuss it. In one of the many articles devoted to him, economic affairs reporter wrote about a moving meeting with him when he was already very ill. "We spoke two hours. His mind was clearer than ever. His eyes shone, were happy, when he spoke about the two most important things in his view to the State of Israel, which he loved so much: 'There are two issues that are the most fateful for this country and, of course, for me: education and peace. The subject of security I leave to the generals. Everyone else needs to be dealing mainly with these two issues,' Dov said, his eyes flashing, shining."

Iran-related News
US President Barack Obama plans to call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today to talk about the six-month interim agreement that was reached on Iran's nuclear program between the powers and Iran Saturday night. According to the details, Iran will continue low-level enrichment but would neutralize stockpiles. Netanyahu called it a 'bad' deal, while Obama claimed it would block Iran from proliferating.The Israeli newspapers went to bed before the agreement was signed so only the websites reported on it today. The deal reportedly came after the personal intervention by US Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign ministers. Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Saturday afternoon in Geneva, in what was the highest-level encounter in the current round of talks. Israel had been working the phones to modify the agreement. Haaretz's Barak Ravid writes that Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz had spent the last three days on the phone with heads of the powers negotiating teams, asking them to address the military dimension of Iran's nuclear program. AP confirmed what Maariv's Eli Bardenstein had reported on earlier this month: that the US and Iran had secretly engaged in a series of high-level, face-to-face talks over the past year. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that Iran is developing a new kind of "dirty bomb," which it could share with terrorists, Maariv/NRG Hebrew reported. Dirty bombs are a 'poor man's nuclear bomb,' which contain radioactive materials that can be scattered for miles and wreak havoc and panic. Speaking in Canada, Yaalon told his Canadian counterpart, "The Iranians want a nuclear umbrella to promote terrorist activities. We cannot be tolerant of them." Meanwhile, the papers wrote that the Iranian Fars news agency reported that Iran plans to build two more nuclear power plants. Haaretz's Anshel Pfeffer wrote an interesting profile of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, "activist turned powerful diplomat at the heart of the nuclear talks." 

Quick Hits:

  • Israeli admits shooting at Palestinian children on TV game show - Elena Zakusilo, a Ukrainian Jewish woman who moved to Israel in order to serve in the Israeli army, revealed on the Nov. 4 episode of the program "Lie Detector" that she had killed Palestinians and had shot at Palestinian children. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces injure 15 Palestinians in clashes in al-Jalazun camp - Clashes broke out after Palestinians tried to stop Israeli settlers from throwing rocks at passing cars on the road between Nablus and Ramallah. (Maan and Ynet)
  • Israeli forces open fire on protests across the West Bank - At least three Palestinians were struck by bullets or tear gas canisters and dozens more suffered from tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces opened fire on weekly protests across the West Bank on Friday. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces attack protests across East Jerusalem, dozens injured - Israeli forces opened fire on protests against the Israeli occupation in East Jerusalem and neighborhoods immediately east of Jerusalem on Friday, leading to dozens of injuries among Palestinians, including gunshot wounds to the head. (Maan)
  • Israeli excavations near Al-Aqsa 'damage Palestinian homes' - Muhammad Zaghoul, who lives near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, says his house suffered major cracks Friday as a result of Israeli excavations around the property. (Maan)
  • Soldier suspected of  'price tag' attacks to return to his military unit - The District Court ruled that the Golani soldier, suspected of spraying graffiti on buses of Afikim Co. in protest of them hiring mostly Arab bus drivers, will be released to house arrest tonight and tomorrow will return to his unit. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Palestinian teenager suspected of assaulting soldier detained in Jaffa - Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teenager from the West Bank in connection with the assault of an Israeli soldier in Jaffa. (Maan)
  • In photos: Palestinians protest new illegal Israeli outpost near Tuqu - Palestinians protested near the southern W. Bank village of Tuqu on Friday after Israeli settlers erected an outpost near a main road under Israeli forces' protection Thursday night. (Maan)
  • Activists cut hole through separation wall in al-Khader - A group of Palestinian activists dug a hole through Israel's separation wall which surrounds the town of al-Khader south of Bethlehem on Friday. (Maan)
  • Herzog wins Labor chairmanship in landslide victory - After two years as party leader, Shelly Yachimovich is ousted by old rival Isaac (Buji) Herzog. Herzog attacks government: Only if we make "brave moves" on Palestinian issue will we get progress on Iranian issue. (Israel Hayom)
  • Abbas congratulates new Israeli Labor Party chairman on his election - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday phoned newly-elected Labor Party chairman Isaac Herzog to congratulate him on his election. (Maan)
  • Moroccan lawmakers push bills to criminalize trade with Israel - Jewish community leader says two proposed bills stand no chance of passing since 'the king will never allow it.' (Haaretz)
  • Bible scholars: Zionists have 'weaponized' scripture - "Anti-Palestinianism" has become a theological issue, Palestinian Bible scholar Yohanna Katanacho said at an international conference in Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • Released Palestinian prisoner tells of torture in Israeli prisons - Female Palestinian prisoner Muntaha al-Heeh, 21, recently released by Israel, told of beatings, strip searches, and other forms of humiliation during her time in Israeli prisons. (Maan)
  • "Pure Heart" cult members intend to emigrate from Canada to Iran - Escape to Iran: 40 families of the extremist ultra-Orthodox sect "Pure Heart" abandoned their residence in the province of Quebec, Canada this week and, according to reports, plan to emigrate to Iran. The reason for abandonment: Concern that welfare authorities will take their children because of accusations of abuse and neglect. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Israeli army reservists demand government nix training cutbacks - With an additional NIS 2.75 billion now allocated to defense, reservists stress the importance of maintaining their preparedness for war. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli forces detain the son of a Palestinian security official - Israeli forces detained last night Odai Bassem Al-Harmi, 16, the son of a Palestinian Authority security official inside Israel claiming that he intended to stab a soldier. (Maan)
  • "IDF operations in Gaza will bring an end to the calm" (between Gaza and Israel) - The military wing of Islamic Jihad warned following shelling in Gaza by the Israeli Air Force that "Palestinian forces have all the legitimacy to respond." (NRG Hebrew)
  • Gaza: 3 unarmed Palestinians arrested near border fence - IDF soldiers have arrested three unarmed Palestinians near the border-fence between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave not far from Kibbutz Be'eri. (Ynet)
  • UN holds conference on Jewish refugees from Arab countries - "We hear a lot about the plight of Arab refugees, but we do not hear a word about 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries," minister Silvan Shalom tells U.N. conference. Israel is compiling a list of assets left behind by Jewish refugees, he says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Man threatens passengers on British Airways flight to Israel - Passenger of Arab descent constrained and taken to questioning, after state of emergency called off. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli industrialist Dov dies at 77 - Lautman, a 2007 recipient of the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, was founder and owner of Delta Galil Industries. [He was also a great supporter of peace between Israel and the Palestinians - OH] and was one of the founders of Dor Shalom, the Rabin Center, and the Peres Peace Center and more. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • World's No. 1 DJ coming to Israel - Dutch music producer Robbert van de Corput, better known by his stage name Hardwell, to show off his renowned skills as disc jockey in Tel Aviv on December 19. (Ynet)
  • Peres to visit Mexico this week - During his visit, President Shimon Peres will meet with senior Mexican government officials as well as Carlos Slim, widely considered the richest businessman in the world, who will open the door of his business empire to Israeli companies. (Israel Hayom)
  • Teachers on strike across West Bank tomorrow -  The Teacher's Union has held limited strikes over the last few weeks in protest over the Ministry of Education's failure to fully implement an agreement reached last September over unpaid salaries. (Maan)
  • Detained Syrian, Palestinian refugees in Egypt on hunger strike - Egypt's interim authorities repeatedly deny discriminating against Syrians, while activists say Egypt unlawfully detains and deports them. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon identifies Palestinian as second Iran embassy bomber - Authorities identified the first suicide bomber as a Lebanese man with ties to hardline Sunni Muslim groups. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egypt expels Turkish ambassador, downgrades diplomatic relations - In reaction to the decision, Turkish PM Erdogan declared on live television: "I will never respect those who come to power through military coups." (Agencies, Haaretz)


Israeli Sesame Street: A seismograph for the peace process
After capturing hearts in the 80's, Sesame Street turned to engage in the occupation of the '90's and the results were accordingly. A reflection of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Kippy shoes (the Israeli version of Big Bird). (By Eli Eshed in Maariv's NRG Hebrew Friday Sofshavua magazine)
Spy games
How did Issam Mashahara, an Egged bus driver who received a achievement award for helping injured in a terror attack, turn into an agent of Hezbollah in Beirut? And why are his Jewish friends sure he was framed? Last month Mashhara, who is from from the E. Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkaber, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. He always saw himself as part of the Israeli society. Until he traveled to Lebanon and was convicted of meeting with Hezbollah people after asking to spy for them. He stayed at a hotel in the Hezbollah-heavy Dahia neighborhood of Beirut. "I doubt he knew at all what was happening in Dahia. He's not someone who is reading the news everyday and talking about politics, but someone who it's not even clear that he knew where Beirut was located before he traveled there," said an Israeli friend, defending him. (By Shlomi Buchnik, Yedioth Jerusalem Hamosaf supplement)
A Bedouin community's last-ditch effort to remain on its land
Residents of Umm al-Hiran are staging a legal battle to remain in their Negev village, where they were moved by the state in the 1950s. (By Gideon Levy, Haaretz)
Doctors without borders
With more than 2000 doctors from the (Arab) sector, Arab Israelis discovered it is possible to break the glass ceiling. In the health system, which suffers from a long and continued crisis, it is possible to find successful co-existence between Jews and Arabs. "The likelihood that an Arab will become a senior official in the Interior Ministry is low," said Dr. Mohammed Mahajneh of Hillel Yafeh Hospital. "The likelihood of a senior position in the health system is higher." (Maariv, p. 12, NRG Hebrew)
Number of Arab doctors in Israel: 2,281 (9.6% of all doctors).
50% of Arab doctors work in their community
45% of Arab doctors work in hospitals[Only! - OH]
23% of Arab doctors studied medicine in Israel
Only 14% of all Arab doctors are women


Want to make history Buji? Put peace first (David Landau, Haaretz) The new Labor leader must push the peace agenda as an expression of his own character and beliefs, not as an echo of the Labor Party aristocracy into which he was born.
The desperation that leads Israel to milk disaster relief for PR value (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) If Israel only managed to free itself from this infernal need to continuously prove itself to the world, maybe it could finally get down to actually fixing its very real problems for its own sake.
The US has principles, and other principles too (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) U.S. negotiators want Congress to think they are tough on Iran, only so they can finalize an agreement and abandon their principles.
Right-wing ministers up in arms over Israel's next state prosecutor (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) Although Shai Nitzan is expected to be named the next state prosecutor after a cabinet vote on Sunday, some politicians can't allow themselves to rile against their constituency.
Israel's new Labor Party leader doesn't bark or bite (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) Isaac Herzog may grow into the job, but if he doesn't, will he be noble enough to step aside and let someone from the outside become party leader?
Yachimovich's loss is Herzog's win (Moran Azulay, Ynet) How did the ultimate number two - MK Isaac Hertzog - oust party strongwoman Shelly Yachimovich in one of Labor party's most lethargic internal elections. A story of party divided, failed leadership.
Herzog's challenge (Haaretz Editorial) The newly elected Labor Party leader must lead a real opposition to the government, rather than being tempted into joining it.
There Friedman goes again (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) Has Thomas Friedman considered the possibility that some in Congress happen to agree with Israel because they view Obama's policy as dangerous for the United States?
Israel's soldiers deserve salaries, not pocket change (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz) Pay real wages to soldiers in order to recognize their true value, and the true cost of conscription.
How Israel can minimize existential threats against it (Yehezkel Dror, Haaretz) Israel is doing a good job on the nuclear Iran and deterrence fronts, but it's not doing enough to achieve regional peace.
Giving in to terror (Ariela Ringel-Hoffman, Ynet) Israel has lost moral authority to demand others fight institutions supporting terror groups.
Unclear and present danger: Israel facing growing threat of non-organized terrorism (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Actions by individuals unconnected to terror organizations present a new challenge for Israeli security forces. The biggest clues may be found after the fact on social media networks.


French Ambassador: "Palestinian incitement is not acceptable to us"
After the visit of President Francois Hollande, French Amb ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave explains in a special interview what exactly his boss meant regarding settlements. (Interviewed by Michael Tuchfeld in Maariv's Friday Sofshavua  supplement) From the interview:
Doesn't it seem strange to put such total demand [stopping settlement construction), this adopts the Palestinian approach while negotiations are taking place? Why prevent settlement construction when in any case the settlements will remain under Israeli sovereignty after the agreement?
"Any continuation of settlement construction endangers the two-state solution for two peoples. If the Israeli government believes in this solution, it should ensure that the agreement will be sustainable. Continuation of settlements explicitly endangers the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state when it puts facts on the ground."
Many Israelis believe in the historical bond of the nation of Israel to its land, in the connection of the promised land, as it appears in the Bible. Are you saying to those people to abandon this belief?
"The Prime Minister and many people in the country say they believe that the only solution is two states for two peoples., I do not say to forget the past, but let's see how the negotiations progress. We are in the midst of a process."
Are you aware of the incitement against Israel existing in the Palestinian media and in the Palestinian educational system?
"I have heard, and this is completely unacceptable to us."
Why doesn't President Hollande, who demanded gestures from Israel, make a similar demand to the Palestinian Authority regarding incitement?
"President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority is also committed to make the necessary gestures to get positive results in negotiations. I believe that when he spoke of gestures is meant specifically to incitement."

"My job is to make sure the world does not fall asleep"
While Netanyahu gives speeches on every podium, Meirav Zafary-Odiz is doing the hard work in order to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. Israel's new ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency is trying to convince her colleagues from around the world to listen to her, despite the fact that she is some 20 years younger than they are. "When they see me smile, they think the situation is good. So that they don't get it wrong, I stopped smiling." She would be happy to tell her Iranian colleague that she's half-Persian, if he would only look in her direction. (Interviewed by Nevo Ziv in Yedioth's Friday Hamosaf L'Shabbat supplement)  From the interview:
At university she found her mission in life.
"I was exposed to nuclear policy and decided that was my direction. I was always more attracted to the nukes, but there were periods where I dealt with chemical and biological weapons. And a little with missiles."
It's funny that you are in a role where you can't speak about the interesting part, the part reported in foreign press [that Israeli has nuclear arms - OH].
"Why? I can, we can talk about it. Israel's official policy on the nuclear is that we won't be the first to bring nuclear weapons to the Middle East.
Translate that.
"That's our policy, interpret that as you will."
When you sit with ambassadors and tell them (that), they don't ask what you mean?
"Not at all."
They don't make it hard on you?
"Not really. There is nothing to add beyond that sentence. That's the world of nuclear diplomacy. But it's important to add that Israel really supports the global non-proliferation regime."
Of course. We don't want others to have nuclear weapons.
"Beyond that, which sounds obvious, there is a principled moral statement here: the State of Israel supports in principle the prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons. That is not a given. There are countries that didn't exactly engrave prevention of proliferation on their flags."
And if, in the end, Iran has nukes?
"The State of Israel will continue to exist, and that is what is important. We are here to stay."


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