News Nosh 10.27.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday October 27, 2013


Quote of the day:

"I left the UK because of my mother's illness and I returned to Israel, which depends on its sword. If I had known, I would probably not have returned."

--Famous Israeli poet Natan Zach tells Yedioth why he thinks it is okay for Israelis not to live in Israel.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
Israel's ministerial committee is expected to approve the release of 26 Palestinians 'with blood on their hands' today causing a bitter rift in the ruling government and warnings of incitement. The Palestinian Authority denies that it quietly agreed to settlement construction in exchange for the prisoner release and it has called on the Europeans to boycott 50 companies working in E. Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett has attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni for the expected release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, a confidence building measure the Israelis agreed on before the peace talks began with the Palestinians. A statement by the party said: "The release of prisoners in exchange for the dubious right of Tzipi Livni to meet with Saeb Erekat is most terrible. With all due respect, halting the release of murderers is even more important than justifying Livni's being in the government." Habayit Hayehudi proposed a law today that would makes prisoner releases as part of peace talks illegal. Netanyahu objected saying, "The proposal restricts the political echelon." Associates of Livni, the leader of Hatnuah party, said over the weekend that "Habayit Hayehudi prefers building in the settlements over any other Israeli national or security interest."

Meanwhile, Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz was among the MKs who warned that "incitement" by Habayit Hayehudi towards Livni and Hatnuah could lead to disaster. Labor MK Merav Michaeli also warned saying, "When such things come from the mouth of the party in the coalition, from the mouths of ministers in the government, don't be surprised when the day after that a right-wing man spits in the face of (MK) Elazar Stern, and don't be surprised if the next thing will be Livni (pictured) in SS uniform and a sentence over her head," Yedioth quoted. Yesh Atid Minister Yaakov Peri said: "Habayit Hayehudi is looking for excuses to stay in the government, but Livni isn't running this negotiation on behalf of herself."
The PLO denied Saturday that the Israeli release of Palestinian prisoners was part of understandings in peace talks under which Israel would be allowed to build more settlements in exchange. "Establishing a link between settlements and the freeing of prisoners goes against all the undertakings made," PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo told AFP. It would "create a very dangerous situation that we would not accept at any cost...If (Palestinian) president Mahmud Abbas had known that Israel intended to make a link between prisoners and the prisoners, he would have never agreed to relaunch negotiations." Israel announced last week it would be building housing units over the Green Line. Maariv reported that the settlement houses will number up to 1700 and the majority will be in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, which is northern Jerusalem over the Green Line.
Israel, meanwhile, denied that it intends to release bodies of Palestinians to the Palestinian Authority, Israel Hayom reported. According to a senior Israeli official, Israel made clear that the return of bodies will be made in coordination with their families and not with any organization. Israel's message was very clear, said the source: "There won't be any trading in bodies."
The Palestinians have asked 50 countries to demand commercial sanctions on settlements. According to an article in the Financial Times, companies should either freeze business dealings with settlements or withdraw investments entirely, the Palestinian Ministry said in letters. The boycott should include Bank Leumi as well, said the Palestinians. Mohammed Shtayyeh, a senior Palestinian negotiator, told the Financial Times that the Palestinians were also calling on foreign countries to "label settlers" who hold dual Israeli and other nationalities. "If you have settlers with double nationality, the country that is issuing or has the nationality of these settlers should notify them to tell them 'Your presence in that territory is illegal'," he said, adding that the Palestinians were raising this as a "talking point" with foreign countries.
But Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said that Israel-EU ties would fray without a compromise on settlements. Elkin said that the EU financial ban on Israeli institutions operating in the West Bank jeopardizes the multi-million dollar research project 'Horizon 2020.' "We are the start-up nation. It would be a big mistake for Europe to lose its relations with Israel," he said.

Quick Hits:

  • Settlers uproot 30 olive trees in Huwwara - Israelis from Yitzhar settlement uprooted 30 olive trees in village south of Nablus on Friday. (Maan)
  • Palestinian Authority to plant 750,000 olive trees to compensate for settler attacks - Caretaker Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Saturday that the Palestinian Authority will compensate Palestinians whose olive trees have been damaged by Israeli settler attacks by planting 750,000 olive trees across the West Bank. Israeli soldiers and settlers have uprooted around 4,000 olive trees since the beginning of the year, Hamdallah added. (Maan)
  • Protests across West Bank violently dispersed by Israel, 2 injured - Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian demonstrations across the occupied West Bank on Friday, leaving several Palestinians injured and dozens suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation. (Maan)
  • Former British Foreign secretary: Jewish money prevents peace - Jack Straw says in parliament debate 'unlimited' funds available to Jewish groups in US used to control America's Mideast policy; adds Germany's 'obsession' with defending Israel another obstacle for peace. (Yedioth, p. 6/Ynet)
  • Israel denies EU delegation entry to Gaza - The Israeli government on Wednesday denied an official six-member European Union delegation entry to the Gaza Strip, claiming the visit would strengthen the ruling Hamas movement. The three-day trip was to focus on social, economic and humanitarian issues. (Maan)
  • Special police unit evacuates Bedouins; 'it's not easy,' officer says - Yoav Unit set up ahead of expected Knesset approval of Bedouin resettlement bill; officers already razing illegal homes in Negev. Adalah: Unfortunately, Bedouins viewed as security risk, demographic problem. (Ynet)
  • 9 people mildly injured by stone throwing - Stones hurled at bus traveling south of Hebron Saturday night injure eight Israelis, one Palestinian girl. IDF scouring area in search of perpetrators. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian 'hurls bomb' (Molotov cocktails) at settler school bus - A Palestinian near the West Bank village of Yabad hurled an improvised explosive device at an Israeli settler school bus early Friday, the Israeli army said. None of the passengers were injured. (Ynet and Maan)
  • Israel occupies Jenin house, turns it into a military base - Israeli forces raided the house of Atef Khalil Abu Baker in the village of Yabad, and turned it into a military base on Friday afternoon. (Maan)
  • Crowd dispersal weapons seized in Ashdod - Over 14,000 crowd dispersal weapons seized in freight from China also containing clothes, jewelry; Police suspect Hebron importer meant to sell items to Palestinian Authority. (Ynet)
  • German pressure Israel to attend UN Human Rights Council review - Germany's foreign minister warns Netanyahu that Israel's failure to attend would cause the country severe diplomatic damage and Israel's allies around the world would be hard-pressed to help it. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinians arrested over Israel 'drone' attack plot - Three Palestinian engineering students arrested by PA security forces for planning attack on Israel with unmanned aircraft. Hamas condemns arrest, says PA 'protects security of occupation.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel asks U.S. Jews: Where do your loyalties lie? Immigrant absorption and foreign ministries forward survey commissioned by third party that poses problematic questions. (Haaretz)
  • Youth spits on MK Elazar Stern in face - "He didn't need to say that. We're sick of this. He is not our rabbi and the State of Israel does not need to continue to pay him money. There is a limit to what we are willing to suffer," said Stern last week after  [far right-wing Kiryat Arba - OH] Rabbi Dov Lior said Ethiopian immigrants were not Jewish. Over the weekend, a 17-year-old youth spat in his face in the community where he lives, saying: "This is for Rabbi Dov Lior."(Maariv, p. 4/NRG Hebrew)
  • Report suggests Israel behind attempt to hack into French communication network - U.S. officials deny involvement in May 2012 cyber attack on Elysee Palace, hinting that Mossad was responsible for attempt, according to leaked document published by Le Monde. (Haaretz)
  • Preparing for every scenario: IDF training alert squads in the north - Next week the IDF will conduct an exercise with the participation of squads from the northern communities. Source: "There is a need to train residents and it is indicative of tension in the region." (NRG Hebrew)
  • Armored Corps to be restructured in face of budget cuts - Changes focus on flexibility, coping with urban combat. (Haaretz)
  • Military Police investigators to join combat soldiers' military operationsTwo shooting incidents in which Palestinians were injured in recent weeks have led Military Police to take a rare step. Military prosecutor's office determined that every case of death of a Palestinian killed by IDF forces must be investigated. So, the IDF decided to attach a military police investigator to some combat missions. Soldiers who were not involved in fighting must prove that opening fire was justified, and that their lives were in danger. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Young Turkish Jews emigrating due to anti-Semitism, tensions with Israel - A senior member of the Turkish Jewish community in Israel tells the Hurriyet Daily that young people back home feel targeted by the Turkish government and bothered by the experience of being 'othered.' (Haaretz)
  • He's here! Tom Jones arrives in Israel - Defying BDS pressure, 73-year-old legendary Welsh singer lands at Ben-Gurion Airport ahead of two Tel Aviv concerts. (Ynet)
  • Egypt's top TV satirist Bassem Youssef is back - In first show since Morsi ouster in July, Egypt's 'Jon Stewart' pokes fun at all camps: Mubarak loyalists, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood supporters and Sisi fans. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Texas governor: Don't fall for Iran's charm offensive - Governor Rick Perry of Texas and Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada are both ardent supporters of Israel; they relate to Israel's wariness of Obama's foreign policy and think Israel will prosper. The two sat down for an interview with Israel Hayom. (Israel Hayom)
  • Former IAF chief: Even if Iran gets nuke, it won't last forever - Maj. Gen. Nehoshtan trusts in IAF's ability to strike Iranian nuclear program: 'Deterrence is strong.' He warns against 'drawn out' talks, 'bad deal.' (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • 'The US should launch a nuclear bomb into Iran and say, see?' - Speaking at a New York event, Casino mogul and Israel supporter Sheldon Adelson proposes bombing the Iranian desert in efforts to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear program. Adelson slams Obama's negotiating tactics as "worst I could imagine." (Israel Hayom)
  • Norway rejects U.S. request to destroy Syrian chemical arms - NATO-member says lack of equipment, Norwegian law prohibits it from dismantling Assad's chemical weapons. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel dismisses reports Iran halting higher-grade enrichment - State official says 'Even if Iran stopped 20% enrichment, it is still equipped with advanced centrifuges that allow it to go from 3.5% enrichment to military grade 90% within a few weeks.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • French ambassador to Israel: It is our duty to prevent a nuclear Iran - New French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave arrives in Tel Aviv. "It is not a calm and tranquil river," he says of Israel-France relations, but still a strong and beneficial one. On Geneva: The Iranians have come with serious proposals. (Israel Hayom)
  • Livni: Israel, Saudis speaking same language on Iran - "I think that you can hear that Arabic sounds familiar to Hebrew when it comes to Iran," says Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, but Saudis first want to see progress in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking before contemplating any change of policy toward Israel. "In order to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon, we need to cooperate with those (who) understand that Iran is a threat to them as well. But unfortunately, the open conflict with the Palestinians makes it impossible or very difficult for them to act with Israel," said Israel's chief negotiator at a Jerusalem Post conference. (Israel Hayom)

No industry, no municipal taxes, no services - he Arab sector
For years, the state chose not to build government offices and trade and industrial zones in the Arab communities. Even when it did build industrial zones near Arab municipalities, it was the neighboring Jewish municipalities that got the municipal tax money. But no municipality can earn enough from collecting municipal taxes only from residents and the municipalities are on the verge of financial collapse. Yet, the Arab residents have always been blamed for the economic failure [the government and many Jewish Israelis long claimed it was because the residents were not paying their municipal taxes and the municipalities were not forcing them to - OH.] Researchers in the field: "The lack of significant amounts of money that are collected through non-residential municipal taxes is the central reason for the difficult economic situation of most of the Arab municipalities." A Sikkuy study found that of the total property tax payments the Israeli government pays local authorities throughout the country for government offices and companies located in their territory, only 0.2 percent goes to the Arab municipalities. In addition, only 1.5 percent of government infrastructure facilities are located in Arab localities, and only 2.4 percent of the industrial parks in Israel are in Arab communities.(Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)


As Iran nears nuclear capability, the West needs to prepare (Amos Harel, Haaretz) ISIS forecasts suggest Iran is weeks away from its first nuclear warhead. Those who give a longer time-frame may be underestimating Teheran's haste.
Is the Saudis' value to the U.S. depreciating? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Saudi Arabia is trapped between the blossoming relations between Obama and Rohani and the Syrian crisis.
The trickster from Teheran - The President is in love (Smadar Peri, Yedioth) Peri claims that many Arabs and Israelis alike, "are disturbed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's charm offensive," and adds, "Nobody believes that Iran will agree to give up its nuclear option...For a long time, I have not seen such helplessness in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf states...It is not just President Obama's treachery toward long-time allies, they have no one to rely on when the big brother in Washington shows such enthusiasm at their expense." Peri suggests that given America's lack of interest in striking Iran and Israel's inability to do so effectively on its own, there is nothing for Israel and the Sunni bloc to do but keep lobbying Washington not to relax either the economic sanctions on Iran or the latter's isolation.
Did Merkel and Hollande really think the Americans wouldn't eavesdrop on them? (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Israeli leaders have longtime assumed Washington is listening in on its phone calls to international leaders.
Israel seems more concerned with pleasing settlers than building peace with Palestinians (Haaretz Editorial) In Israel, the release of Palestinian prisoners as part of the peace talks is seen as a terrorist attack deserving of retaliation.
Netanyahu the converso (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Appointment of new central bank chief just another example of PM's zigzagging. When it comes to the peace process, the hawkish Likud members believe that when Netanyahu will have to decide between a crisis with the US and being overthrown as party chairman, he will surrender to them.
What does it mean to be anti-Israel? (Mira Sucharov, Haaretz) Those who accuse organizations such as J Street and the New Israel Fund as anti-Israel while proclaiming themselves pro-Israelis are nullifying important questions every patriot should be dealing with.
Snowden, Assange, Manning, Vanunu - these are the true heroes of our time (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) The bravery of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange et al in exposing government wrongdoing should be rewarded, not treated as acts of treason. 
Time out on the Bibi adulation (Roy Isacowitz, Haaretz) Forget the creeping revisionism: The devious and self-pitying Netanyahu hasn't improved and he hasn't matured. All that has happened is that he's worn us down. 
The astute Saudi nose (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) The Saudis smell that the Obama administration is selling them out and it now seems they are preparing to shift directions -- away from Washington's weakness. 
Raised on the Holocaust (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) Netanyahu is a master of the art of Shoah business, a true disciple of Menachem Begin, who was the first to release the genie of the Holocaust from the bottle. 
Preventing the breakout (Amir Rappaport, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) "The IDF and the ISA know that in the wake of recent events, the situation in the territories is very volatile on both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides," even though, "There does not seem to be a guiding hand behind the [latest] wave of attacks. The Palestinian Authority is not interested in a wave of terrorism at this time and Hamas, which is in great distress in the Gaza Strip, is not succeeding in setting Judea and Samaria ablaze from there." Rappaport notes that cooperation between the Israeli and PA security forces is continuing and avers that, "In the short term, nobody smells an intifada." However, concludes Rappaport, "The third intifada could continue to develop slowly and gradually or could gather momentum if and when the talks reach a dead end. Additional terrorist attacks or acts of provocation by settlers, such as burning mosques, could also hasten the process. The scenario that most concerns the security establishment is that one of the dozens of initiatives in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip to kidnap Israeli soldiers or civilians will succeed. In the past two years, dozens of abduction attempts have been foiled, but the Palestinian motivation in this field remains high and one must estimate that one of the attempts will succeed at some stage."
Rehavam Ze'evi's 'heritage' is one to repudiate, not celebrate (Haaretz Editorial) The mistake inherent in the law to memorialize Ze'evi must be corrected: Israel should be ashamed that a man with such putrid views once served in its government. 
Iran's nuclear program today, ours tomorrow? (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) The world just might get Tehran to budge without us going crazy and acting alone. If that happens, when our turn comes, the world might insist on dealing with our toys. 
Still bickering over Balfour (Dore Gold, Israel Hayom) With the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration again upon us, it is important to understand how Balfour's act still confounds Palestinian leaders who are prepared to distort its significance.
Bakri, Bakri (Gideon Levy, Haaretz Hebrew and translated to English by Sol Salbe) Saleh Barki won an Ophir Prize for his role in the Band's Visit - the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars. That's the way we love ourselves as well: Look at us, so enlightened, so egalitarian. Arab actors are beautifully successful in the only democracy. But look, look at what happens when those "good Arabs" step outside the hummus-chips-salad boundaries that we've designated for them --  they immediately become the enemies of the people.


**Poet Natan Zach, the 83-year is angry at Israel for its "occupation policy" and understands young Israelis who leave the country. In the past, Zach connected between the occupation and the daily violence spreading throughout Israeli society. He called for a boycott of the settlements and even declared that he does not want to end his life in an apartheid state. (Interviewed by Elad Zeretz in Yediot Aharonot's Friday '7Days' magazine.)

"They said we'd have a 'Land of Milk and Honey.' So they said and see what came out. I was the first who refused to agree that my poems would be published over the Green Line. Then they still called it the Green Line, afterward they stole the green from them. Soon there won't even be a line left. Sure, land flowing with milk and honey.

"The best years of my life were 13 years I spent in England. I left the UK because of my mother's illness and I returned to Israel, which depends on its sword. If I had known, I would probably not have returned. It is in everything. Our culture today is a catastrophe. I think that Ben-Gurion was right. He did not know why, but he was right not to want television. "We are not ready for television," he said at the time. Now when you see what is broadcast on Israeli television you understand. You see so much rape and so much sexual promiscuity. Food programs and women who meet men in the dark. It's like the last days of Rome. Licentiousness. And alongside that - every day, shows about the Yom Kippur War. What do they want to perpetuate? Is it a preparation for the next war? Day after day the Yom Kippur War on TV. Again and again they trickle the war into us. Failure. Just not to fall asleep again (on the guard). Since we all here are ready for war every day, all day.  Here they teach only hatred and preparation for nuclear bombs. Instead of trying to bring neighbors closer, because we chose this screwed-up region."
On violence in the country:
"It was not like that in my time. Now, the violence in this country is violence that the Jewish people has never known. What Jewish father goes and throws his two children from a building and then himself? Do you think that in the Diaspora it could have happened that a Jew throws his children and then himself? In the Diaspora, would a mother kill her children because of her bad relations with the father? Absolutely not. In the Diaspora it was a closed society that did not know such things. This country is awash with violence. "
On High Court decision not to allow 'Israeli' written on Israeli ID cards. Jewish Israelis are identified as 'Jew's.
"I see what religion has done here. If I cannot write in my identity card that I am an Israeli, if you need to write that I am a Jew - then I don't know why I fought for Israel in the War of Independence. I fought in the War of Independence for Israel and for my Jewishness. I am an Israeli and on my identity card it should be written in 'Israeli.'" (Hebrew quotes taken from here.)

Israel saved me
Reverend Mulinda from Uganda and his friend Majed El Shafie from Egypt both converted to Christianity from Islam, and paid a heavy price for sticking to their beliefs. Today they fight against anti-Semitism and advocate human rights and a love for Israel. (Interviewed by Amit Lewinthal in Israel Hayom)


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