News Nosh 03.05.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday March 5, 2015

Quote of the day:
"Stand. Down. Stand. Down. Good to see you back on your feet. Iran, Iran, Iran. You can do it."
--From a parody rhythm remix of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The profit is not theirs – International Women’s Day 2015: Large salary gaps between men and women
  • The truth behind Likud campaign video clips
  • Horror on the cable car – Caught on fire and people hung from cable waiting for rescue
  • Warm home – This is how the home that (deceased singer) Ofra Haza grew up in has turned into a museum in her name
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
  • Netanyahu optimistic: “The message was received”
  • Speech in dispute - In the American eye // Shmuel Rozner
  • The speech effect: TV polls point to narrowing of gap between Likud and Zionist Camp
  • 9,000 Internet surfers voted on Maariv website: Close race at the top
  • Moments of terror on flight to Nepal – Plane skidded on runway
  • Want to take a dip in the sea? Think again: 11 polluted beaches
  • I am Purim
Israel Hayom
  • 41%: Trust Netanyahu in face of Iran; 6%: Trust Herzog; Iranian Foreign Minister: “We are very close to a nuclear agreement”
  • High Court in favor of freedom of press
  • Democratic values? Benefit of the public? You made Tzipi laugh // Mati Tuchfeld
  • 10 incidents in four months: Fear of outbreak of jaundice in center of country
  • Respect: Tel-Aviv among 10 cities with best beaches in world according to National Geographic

Election Polls:
Polls: Netanyahu's Congress speech boosts Likud, but no game changer
Channel 10 gives both Likud and Zionist Union 23 seats each, while Channel 2 gives Zionist Union a slender lead with 24 seats to Likud's 23. (HaaretzYnet and Maariv)

News Summary:
The reactions to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and the reactions to the reactions continued to be a top story in today’s Hebrew newspapers. What barely made the news were the statements by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the PLO Central Council meeting held Wednesday.

In response to US President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said he did present a practical alternative to a bad Iran deal. Unlike the US media and US pundits, the Hebrew newspapers did not refute the technical points that Netanyahu raised. (See Matt Duss in Slate or FB post by US expert on Iranian nukes Gary Sick.) He also said that both Democrats and Republicans better understand why the impending deal is so bad, despite the fact that Democrats tore into him calling it ‘an insult to the intelligence.’ (By the way, Ynet ran an article noting that in 1993, Netanyahu said Iran would have the bomb by 1999. The article points to numerous quotes where Netanyahu was wrong.) US Secretary of State Kerry responded to Netanyahu saying that simply demanding that Iran capitulate was not a plan.
Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ended three days of talks and will meet again in Geneva on March 15. Kerry said gaps remain and Zarif said that a nuclear deal could be close. Kerry hinted that the March 30 goal is no longer a 'framework agreement' with Iran but an 'understanding' on which to base future talks.

Kerry left to Saudi Arabia to ease concerns over an emerging deal. The Hebrew papers noted that Netanyahu’s speech was praised in Saudi Arabia. The papers also reported on the mixed reviews in the US media, noting that Jon Stewart’s slamming of Netanyahu for claiming to speak for the entire Jewish people was particularly popular. In New York, thousands of anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Jews protested the speech, agreeing with Stewart that Netanyahu did not represent them.

Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing their bill that would require an agreement to be reviewed by Congress - despite Obama's threat of a veto. Haaretz’s Barak Ravid reported that the White House has hinted that Netanyahu needs to get rid of Ambassador Ron Dermer if he wants to mend ties. Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer, wrote in Politico Magazine that “Dermer’s ability to function as the Israeli ambassador is now severely weakened, perhaps even fatally so.” 

Yedioth focused today more on the large salary gap between men and women and all the papers reported on Opposition leader and Zionist Camp Chairman Isaac Herzog’s visit to a southern Israeli hospital where he slammed Netanyahu for the healthcare crisis. Ynet noted that the cost of Netanyahu's Washington flight was $1.57 million, and that it wasn’t known how much his security entail and hotels cost.
Only Maariv and Ynet ran full articles on the statements by Palestinian President Abbas on the peace process. Speaking at the PLO Central Council meeting, the first to take place since April 2014, Abbas offered to return to negotiations with Israel on condition that Israel release the last round of prisoners and cease settlement construction. He said that "even in the United States they know that Netanyahu is causing a delay in the peace process.” Abbas called Israel a ‘bully” and accused it of “gangsterism” for withholding Palestinian tax revenues. And he said he rejected the Israeli offer to end the Palestinian bid for membership in the International Criminal Court at The Hague in exchange for transferring the Palestinian monies. Maan noted that Abbas asked all countries of the world to recognize the state of Palestine, "But we want to say to the Israeli side, these recognitions do not mean in any way that we do not want to negotiate, or that we're running away from negotiations." Maan also reported that for the third month in a row, the Palestinian Authority will pay its civil servants only 60% of their monthly wages, as a result of Israel withholding Palestinian tax revenues. Israel denied 10 members of the Council from leaving Gaza to travel to the West Bank to the meeting held in Ramallah. No reason was given, Maan reported. Another 20 others were allowed to travel.

The papers did report that Abbas wished the Joint Arab List success, and he also said that the Palestinians do not interfere in Israeli elections and will work with whoever is elected.

Quick Hits:
  • Israel (says) to double amount of water supplied to Gaza - Decision stems from ongoing lack of potable water in the Strip. (Haaretz and Maan)
  • Israeli settlers enter Al-Aqsa for Purim holiday - 56 Israeli settlers raided the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in groups protected by armed security and attempted to perform religious rites before leaving, but were prevented by Al-Aqsa guards. The Israeli police detained a Palestinian worshiper. (Maan)
  • Anti-Arab extremist indicted for assaulting MK Zoabi - Artemi Kazarov, supporter of Kahanist leader Baruch Marzel, allegedly poured bottle of juice on Zoabi at candidates' forum; spokeswoman for Arab Joint List hospitalized with head injuries, Meretz MK elbowed in stomach. (Haaretz+) 
  • Kahane’s grandson banned from West Bank for a year - Meir Ettinger of Givat Ronen outpost, was also placed under house arrest at night for three months, forbidden to contact six associates for six months and banished from Jerusalem for six months. Ettinger was convicted of keeping surveillance over IDF troops in a bid to prevent evacuation of outposts. He was also one of 10 extremists who entered West Bank village of Kusra in January 2014 [with the likely goal of setting something on fire or vandalism – OH] and was beaten by Palestinians and handed over to the IDF. (Haaretz+) 
  • Palestinian activists plant olive trees in Hebron - Dozens of Palestinians took part in planting olive tree saplings in Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron, despite Israeli army declaring area closed military zone and after settlers recently cut down saplings. Badie Dweik said activity was a "message of Palestinian persistence.” (Maan)
  • Battle for water won by entrepeneur of first Palestinian planned city - A political battle to install a water pipeline for the first planned Palestinian city of Rawabi is now over, with Palestinian American entrepeneur finally able to reach his goal of establishing a beautiful city in area A of the West Bank. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Palestinian Authority to stop paying fines Israeli courts impose on prisoners - Israeli military courts had started more than a year ago to impose fines reaching tens of thousands of shekels "in compensation to Israeli soldiers or settlers attacked during Palestinian resistance activities." All lawyers of Palestinian prisoners have been told to avoid plea bargains with Israeli prosecution that includes fines. (Maan)
  • Israeli troops shoot, injure Palestinian near Jenin -Young men who confronted Israeli soldiers who stormed Qabatiya in some 40 Israeli military. The locals with threw stones and empty bottles, the soldiers fired tear-gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber-coated balls, injuring two young men. (Maan)
  • Army: Shots fired at Israeli military vehicle near Nablus - Gunshots were fired at an Israeli military vehicle near the Israeli settlement of Qedumim Wednesday, lightly damaging the vehicle with no injuries reported. (Maan
  • Israeli forces impose security restrictions on Nablus, settlers throw rocks on Palestinian cars - Restrictions on the southern and eastern entrances of Nablus on Wednesday after shooting incident on military vehicle. Also, several Israeli settlers from Elon Moreh threw rocks at Palestinian vehicles on the Beit Furik-Beit Dajan road, damaging several. The road was opened by Israeli forces for the first time after being closed for nine years. (Maan)
  • British watchdog bans Israel tourism ad over inclusion of Old City - Move comes despite Israeli tourist office's claim that 'the brochure made clear a distinction between Israel and the Occupied Territories,' according to British group. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Abbas: We welcome Arab Joint List, wish them great success - Israeli diplomats set to cast first ballots in election; Herzog says Netanyahu's Congress address only harms effort to stop Iran; Israeli TV swamped with political campaign ads. (Haaretz)
  • IDF chief: We must meet maritime threats - "The Navy is pivotal to our success as a military and as a state," Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot says at Naval Academy's 130th graduation ceremony Tuesday. "Israel's naval arm ... is one of excellence, quality, and determination," Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon says. (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF unveils new method for destroying terror tunnels - Army expects Hezbollah to fight underground in the event of another war, conducts training for detonating tunnel openings and develops new communication equipment. (Ynet)
  • Before Israel's election, parties loath to talk about cutting defense spending - A 10% reduction in military outlays would free up $1.5 billion for civilian use. (Haaretz+)
  • US budget caps complicates Israeli missile defense request - If mandatory limits not eased, Congress will have to reshuffle research priorities to comply with Jerusalem ask of additional $317 million for Iron Dome, Arrow shields. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Female Israeli soldier jailed after reporting rape, not returning from sick leave - Channel 2 website's report on scandal leads to IDF soldier's release. (Haaretz+)
  • Election ad gaffe may cost Yisrael Beiteinu hundreds of thousands of dollars - Right-wing party displayed picture it claimed to belong to arch-terrorist, but it turned out to be Arab-Israeli lawyer. (Haaretz)
  • Organizers of women’s conference on polygamy threatened - The event in southern Israel next week could hurt the Joint List ticket of Arab parties, critics say. (Haaretz+)
  • March Madness: Israeli TV flooded with election propaganda clips - WATCH: Zionist Camp's clip scoffs at Netanyahu's Congress speech; Likud's video invokes Begin's 1981 decision to bomb Iraq's nuclear reactor; Joint List turns musical to express solidarity. (Haaretz+)
  • 9 Israelis break Forbes 500 rich list - Israeli magnates make the cut in list of world's wealthiest, with Patrick Drahi, Eyal Ofer, and Stef Wertheimer leading the pack. (Ynet)
  • **Netanyahu's speech remix: Sit up, sit down - Ynet exclusive: Israel's king of remix Noy Aloooshe takes on Netanyahu's address to US Congress, with demands of GOP to remember three things: Iran, Iran and Iran. (Ynet)
  • The story behind the marble Moses in Netanyahu’s speech' - Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years,' PM said during speech to Congress, referencing a marble statue of Moses, but how did it get to the Hill in the first place. (Ynet
  • Dennis Ross and former head of India's intelligence talk Israeli security - VIDEO: At Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) annual conference former Clinton envoy and former head of India's spy services talk Iran, Netanyahu's speech and regional security. (Ynet
  • JDL leader in U.K. convicted of assaulting pro-Palestinian - Robert Moore discharged a dye spray in the face of a retired British Library professor and book seller at Palestine literature festival. (Haaretz)
  • Egypt ready to approve imports of Israeli natural gas, with conditions - Deal would go through if the price is right and if one of the gas companies involved drops legal action against the government, Egyptian minister says. (Haaretz+)
  • Middle East updates / Kerry in Saudi Arabia to talk Iran, Yemen instability - Iranian special operatives free diplomat abducted in Yemen. (Haaretz)

They say Ayman 
The Arab and Jewish undecided guests who arrived at the home of Joint Arab List Chairman Ayman Oudeh sat in a sort of bi-national shyness that caused the owner of the home to stand up and urge them to take from the full breakfast he laid out for them. But a few days after the televised political debate, they only see Oudeh as a TV star and feel even shyer. One of the voters, Matan, 33, voted Hadash in the last elections and expressed the thoughts of some of those present. "The things you say really move me, but now that you are united with the other Arab parties I am in a dilemma. I don't see (MK Ahmed) Tibi and (MK Jamal) Zahalka as representing me or the Arabs." (Merav Betito, Yedioth, p. 8)
Meet the new tourists to Israel (who don't care for hummus)
The good news: They’re not scared off by terror attacks or war. (Haaretz+) 

Let’s keep Israel safe for the political fringes (Haaretz Editorial) Right-wingers’ assault on Knesset members at a panel discussion this week was an act worthy of fascists. 
Netanyahu's top priority is elections, not Iran (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Instead of garnering the Democratic members' support in order to torpedo the Iranian nuclear deal, the prime minister's Congress speech only served to alienate them.
Sorry, Bibi: Iran is bad, but it is no Amalek, Haman or even Nazi Germany (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) Jewish history offers no parallels for the situation Israel finds itself in today – American history does. 
Netanyahu’s speech leaves rivals at a loss (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) PM commandeers campaign agenda with little time left to change it.  
The sad truth in Bennett's claim about rampant crime in Arab towns (Don Futterman, Israel Hayom) The 'rule of law' does indeed seem absent from many Arab enclaves in Israel. But the problem lies beyond a lack of law enforcement. 
How did Israelis get away with smuggling for Hamas? (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Dozens of Israelis helped Hamas' rocket industry - the group's military wing even had warehouses inside Israel; and if the defense establishment suspected, why didn't it act?
Netanyahu's survival speech (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) The Congress address proved what we all already know, that when it comes to speaking, Netanyahu has no competition. His only problem is his return to Israel, where he will be greeted by all the annoying issues he tried to push aside.
Two good reasons for all Israelis to vote for the Joint List of Arab parties (Shlomo Sand, Haaretz+) A vote for this party could be a decisive event in Israel’s short history. 
Ambassador Power as Queen Esther: An unlikely advocate for the Jewish people (Rabbi Dan Dorsch, Haaretz) Power called out apathy toward anti-Semitism before such condemnation was mainstream.
Netanyahu talks the talk, but that's it (Amnon Abramovich, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister didn't want Israel to become an apartheid state, but on his watch it is becoming entrenched as such; he didn't want a nuclear Iran, but on his watch it is becoming just that. 
US must come to its senses (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) A nuclear Iran poses a serious threat to the Sunni Arab world, and its leaders, much like Netanyahu, are hoping Obama sobers up to reality.
When the ends don't justify the means: Israeli army's use of dogs is cruel (Emanuel Gross, Haaretz+) A society without respect for human dignity, that is willing to use animals against human beings, is an unfit society.
Zero in social skills: Netanyahu's speech is all he has (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Likud officials resigned because of him, most Israelis do not want him, former security officials spoke out against him, and now - the Democrats. Give Netanyahu a chance, and he'll waste it.
Despite everything, a historic speech by Netanyahu (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Due to the world reactions to Netanyahu's address, I have the feeling – or maybe it’s a wish – that the agreement with Iran, in its current, execrable form, will not be signed. 
Iran, then and now: Netanyahu puts himself in the role of savior (Avrahim Tirosh, Maariv) The Prime Minister had made himself out to be Ben-Gurion, Eshkol and Begin and even Churchill. In the spirit of the Purim holiday, it is not surprising that he did not disguised himself as Mordechai the Jew. 
The book of Esther: More relevant than ever (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) I was present at the historic moment when the prime minister told the U.S. and the free world that the Jewish people would fight to protect themselves.
Netanyahu spoke truth. Few heard. (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) Netanyahu isn’t generating much interest in the U.S. because he frames the Iranian nuclear threat in Jewish and Israeli terms instead of as a universal concern directly affecting Americans.

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