News Nosh 03.12.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday March 12, 2015

Quote of the day:
"Something isn’t going the way it should. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last week should have created a turning point for us and strengthened Likud in the polls. It’s clear that we didn’t achieve the desired outcome.”
--One of many senior figures in Likud who told media that they are afraid Likud will lose the elections.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Trans-Israel – Heads of parties on marathon journey across country to try to convince undecided voters and those who abandoned the party
  • Cry of the generals – Senior former defense establishment people: “Netanyahu endangers the security of the state”
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Netanyahu’s spin – Prime Minister recruits ‘Maariv This Week’ in attempt to stop Herzog
  • When the Prime Minister lies // Ben Caspit says Herzog never said he would make an Arab MKs chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee
  • Is there really no way to prevent (Arab MKs from being on sensitive Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee)? // Karni Eldad
  • Mystery: How did Meni Naftali get Sara Netanyahu’s ‘deposition draft’?
  • Not at our school – Parents complained: Principal punishing pupils with ‘Marines’ haircut
  • The family connection: ISIS activist who oversaw execution of ‘Mossad spy’ from E. Jerusalem is brother of terrorst from Jewish school in Toulouse
Israel Hayom
  • “It is impossible to base security on illusions”
  • Likud in battle of containment: “It’s dangerous that Bougie (Herzog) and Livni establish a government with Arab (MK) support”; Herzog: “Likudniks are moving to us”
  • Excuse me, what exactly are Bougie (Herzog) and Tzipi’s achievements? // Haim Shine
  • “Millions of dollars donated from the US – for voting for Arabs”
  • Kahlon is a ‘Likudnik’, Lieberman is “right-wing”? // Mati Tuchfeld
  • Court to Meni Naftali: Where did you get Sara Netanyahu’s ‘draft deposition’ from?
  • At last moment: Labor court offered compromise; Strike in south was cancelled
  • Horrifying tragedy: 4.5-month-old baby choked to death on nylon bag

Election 2015 Polls:
News Summary:
Elections, elections, elections. The papers were filled with who said what where about whom and it all seemed to come down to either anti-Netanyahu or pro-Netanyahu. With the exception of reports from Israel Hayom, most of the statements were against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.  And senior Likud members acknowledged that the party may very well lose Tuesday's elections. Meanwhile, a month-old interview of Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog by Maariv’s Ben Caspit is now being (mis-)used by Netanyahu’s campaign management and Israel Hayom against Herzog.
**Senior Likud sources told Haaretz and Maariv that Netanyahu may not win the election. Maariv’s Arik Bender also reported that Netanyahu is expected to resign as Likud Chairman if he loses the election, in which case senior Likud members are preparing for the battle over will take his place. “The feeling is that the party lost its support, that Likud is depressed. Senior Likud officials believe that if the party fails to win, Netanyahu will resign and the party will go through a shake-up,” one senior Likudnik said. Ynet reported that Netanyahu’s final campaign convention was cancelled due to fear that not enough people would show up. Instead of the Saturday night convention, Netanyahu will go to the home of the deputy mayor to try to sway local leaders to support him during the elections, Ynet wrote. Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said: "Binyamin Netanyahu will no longer be prime minister. It's over.” He told Ynet that the Prime Minister of being detached from reality.
What was big news in Maariv and Yedioth (and JPost and Times of Israel) were the statements by former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit at a press conference of the ‘Commanders for the Security of Israel’ forum Wednesday. The former spy chief Shavit said that Netanyahu was to blame for security failures and the worsened relationship with the US. He said he mishandled the Iranian nuclear issue, saying he “has caused damage to the State of Israel and, I am certain, will cause damage in the future as well.”  Speaking to Army Radio before the press conference held with four other former top commanders, Shavit called the assassination of Jihad Mughniyeh in the Syrian Golan Heights in January “stupidity." (Maariv)
Ben Caspit called Netanyahu a liar on the front page of today’s Maariv after Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page that Herzog said he would agree to Arab MK Ahmed Tibi being chairman of the sensitive Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The post has gone viral on social networks. But actually, Caspit points out, at the end the recorded interview from a month ago, Caspit asked Herzog a number of ‘yes or no’ questions. To the question of “MK Ahmed Tibi on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee,” Herzog answered ‘I don't rule out’. Caspit writes that he did not say he wanted him to be chairman and that the law does not prevent Tibi from being on the committee because he is Arab, so even Netanyahu could not say ‘no.’ Moreover, two Arabs have sat on the committee in the past and even if Netanyahu wanted. (Maariv)

Quick Hits:
  • 15-year-old Palestinian enters 76th day in Israeli custody - Khalid Hussam al-Sheikh, was sentenced to four months jail and fined 2,000 shekel ($495) for throwing rocks and burning tires. His family has not been allowed to visit him. Settler children do not fall under same laws. (Maan)
  • Hamas rejected 5-year Israel truce in return for end to Gaza blockade, says Abu Marzouk - Hamas senior official says proposal, presented by Israeli, Palestinian, and international elements, included clauses about operating of airport, seaport. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israeli soldier remanded for intelligence leak - Resident of the Bat Ayin West Bank settlement suspected of sharing information from police investigations. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israel's top court rejects petition to stop discriminatory airport security checks - High Court cites changes made to Ben Gurion Airport's security mechanism as reason for rejecting petition against discriminatory checks. (Haaretz+)
  • Probe into Iran cyberattack stalls over fears of confirming U.S.-Israel role - Obama administration sees security and diplomatic obstacles - including further frayed ties with Israel - if investigators pursue the case, Washington Post reports. (Haaretz)
  • IDF Chief Education Officer: Remove rabbis from recruits’ swearing-in ceremonies - Gen. Avner Paz-Tzuk told IDF Personnel Dept. that there was something wrong with the fact that the central people, alongside the commander of the unit, are the rabbi of the soldiers and the rabbi of the unit. "This is not a religious ceremony and there is no reason it should appear as such." (Maariv)
  • [Religious Defense Minister] Ya'alon opposes the IDF chief education officer: “There is a place for religious characteristics at military ceremonies” - Defense Minister was interviewed on Army Radio and also addressed the subject of the press conference by former senior security establishment leaders against Netanyahu: "Beware of false prophets.” (Maariv)
  • Soldiers wound seven Palestinian students in stone-throwing protest - Birzeit University demonstrators marked one year since killing by army of classmate alleged to be stoning settlers' cars. (Haaretz)
  • Lieberman: Israel should execute Arabs convicted of terrorism - 5 days to go: Far-right politician Baruch Marzel charged with assault. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Social activists march to Jerusalem 'to change agenda' - Activists head out from Tel Aviv towards capital, in aim to make hardships experienced by citizens top agenda issue. (Ynet)
  • Left-wing Meretz's new plea to voters: Don't let us get wiped out this election - Party launches new campaign urging undecided voters not to support Zionist Union. (Haaretz
  • Sarah Silverman joins campaign to save leftist Meretz party -  'Every vote counts. If you don't vote, you can't complain,' the Jewish-American actress and comedienne writes. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli left slams 'Jews only' election app - Perhaps the government hopes to discourage Arab citizens from voting by not offering the app in Arabic, suggests Meretz party chairwoman. [Israel has two official languages: Hebrew and Arabic. – OH] (Haaretz)
  • US senator: OneVoice may have violated tax regulations - Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and House of Representatives member Lee Zeldin send letter to IRS commissioner requesting information regarding the tax-exempt status of OneVoice. OneVoice: Complaints are indicative of pressure the Right is under. (Israel Hayom)
  • Zionist Union platform includes anti-Israel Hayom bill - Zionist Union platform includes similar language to that of proposal seeking to cripple Israel Hayom's operations, under the guise of promoting freedom of the press in Israel. Zionist Union says platform "makes no specific mention of Israel Hayom." (Israel Hayom)
  • Study reveals anti-Netanyahu nature of Yedioth coverage - In the past six months, Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Sima Kadmon has written more than 20 articles on PM Benjamin Netanyahu, all negative, compared to almost entirely positive or neutral coverage of Yair Lapid and Moshe Kahlon. (Israel Hayom)
  • Gaza novelist shortlisted for Arab Booker learned craft from refugee grandmother - Atef Abu Saif, 41, couldn't attend announcement ceremony due to Hamas harassment [i.e. Hamas delayed his exit permit.] (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Qatar says to begin rebuilding 1,000 homes in Gaza - Qatari official says reconstruction project as part of $1 billion aid pledge has begun, urges 'more countries to come and build Gaza'. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel allows masonry mortar into Gaza Strip - The Israeli authorities have decided to allow masonry mortar into the Gaza Strip for the first time in several years. (Maan)
  • Two Palestinians receive permits to enter southern city of Eilat, in rare move - The authorities rarely allow Palestinians into the port city, despite the many requests by an Israeli ecological institute. (Haaretz+)
  • UNRWA chief joins aid convoy into besieged Yarmouk camp - Pierre Krahenbuhl said it was "totally unacceptable" that some 18,000 residents of Yarmouk had not received aid for so long. (Agencies, Maan)
  • Palestinian activists set fire to Israeli products in Nablus - Activists supporting the Palestinian movement to boycott Israeli products reportedly stopped a truck distributing ice cream and removed all the Israeli products from inside. (Maan)
  • Father of Palestinian killed in Syria says son duped into joining ISIS - Teen said to be lured with promises of women, money and cars. (Agencies, Haaretz+VIDEO)  
  • Official: Man and boy in latest ISIS execution video may be related to Toulouse attacker - Man, boy in video of Palestinian's shooting are French citizens, official says; investigators probing whether man seen praising attacks on Jews in video is Mohammed Merah's relative. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • U.S.: War crimes case against Assad strong, but could last decades - U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues says case stronger even than those against Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia or Charles Taylor of Liberia, but will take time: 'I'm still dealing with some Nazi cases,' he says. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Kerry: "The Obama administration does not intend to bring an agreement with Iran to Congress for approval" - US Secretary of State argues that a final agreement with Tehran, if achieved, does not need the approval of Capitol Hill because "it is not a legally binding Convention." (Agencies, Maariv and Ynet)
  • In Iran talks, the core question is open: Can Iran build a bomb? - Iran has dodged the issue up to now, and the six negotiating nations are unsure whether to pressure Tehran to tell all about atomic matters, NYT reports. (Haaretz)
  • Biden: Senators' letter to Iran 'offends me as matter of principle' - "Joe Biden, as [President] Barack Obama's own secretary of defense has said, has been wrong about nearly every foreign policy and national security decision in the last 40 years," Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas tells MSNBC. (Israel Hayom)

Meet the Israeli Jews who will vote for the Arab ticket
Thousands of Israeli Jews, many of them young and educated Tel Avivians, are casting their ballots with the country's perennial underdog. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)
For Palestinians, Israel's election offers bleak horizon
With Israeli elections looming less than one week away, Palestinians are left with a sense that no matter who secures a term in office little is going to change for them in the West Bank and Gaza. (Reuters, Ynet)

Letter to the Israeli voter: If you reelect Netanyahu, you risk losing the U.S. (Peter Beinart , Haaretz+) The United States is becoming a different country; one that is increasingly intolerant of Bibi's policies.
How Herzog and the center-left might actually win Israel’s election (Omer Benjakob, Ynet) The chances are small, but recent polls and statements by both Netanyahu and possible kingmaker Lapid indicate the center-left camp led by Herzog might form the next government. 
New Israeli prime minister will have to act fast to clean up diplomatic mess (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) Many of the issues Netanyahu should have been formulating strategies for in 2009 remain unresolved in 2015. A partial list. 
Rightist public may be saddled with leftist government (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The public does not want Herzog as PM, but due to the nature of Israel's electoral system, Netanyahu might lose election.
In Israel, a good Arab is an invisible Arab (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The woman who will light a torch on Independence Day is just the type of Arab that Israel likes — an invisible one.
Israeli concessions will not remain on paper (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) One horrible day, the American empire which we depend on will decide that 100,000, 200,000 or 300,000 people must evacuate their homes in Judea and Samaria. 
Who will stop the Israeli settlers? (Akiva Eldar, Haaretz+) Herzog and Livni also bear responsibility for the growth of the settler population in the past decade.
'Peace initiative' is a dead-end road (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu is doing the right and responsible thing by avoiding a peace plan based on the Clinton Parameters; his mistake is in the way he is managing the conflict.
When electioneering meets reality (Haaretz Editorial) With Election Day around the corner, some parties claim credit for a host of accomplishments, with little regard to the facts. 
Change the film, already (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The extreme Left would like to re-educate us all to accept its psycho-political stance that the blood-soaked events of the past 20 years never took place. 
Why is ISIS destroying Iraq's historical heritage? (Aziz Abu Sarah, Haaretz+) No ethnic cleansing is complete without the removal of the historical roots from which a people emerged. In order to dictate the future, ISIS is destroying the past.
Israelis, vote for hope. Vote for Zionist Union (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) Herzog and Livni may not be perfect, but they and their party are returning Israel to itself, to its essence, to what it’s supposed to be.

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