News Nosh 10.21.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Monday October 21, 2013


Quote of the day:

"The Likud's hilltop youth, headed by (MK) Yariv Levin, are leading Israel into the murky waters of a totalitarian state."
--MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) reacts like others from the right and the left to the attempt to
limit Israel's High Court's authority.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
The Israeli Ministerial committee has ratified a bill requiring a 66% Knesset majority approval to negotiate Jerusalem's status in peace talks, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he still believed in the peace talks, but gave details about what Israeli demands he would refuse, while MK Avigdor Lieberman said Abbas was no partner and there was no point in talks. And according to Yedioth, the upcoming round of releasing Palestinian prisoners next week is worrying the security establishment.

The ministers ratified a bill, which could make achieving a peace agreement much more difficult: negotiating the status of Jerusalem - mainly East Jerusalem - will require the approval of 80 MKs. Interestingly, Haaretz reports that both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid opposed the bill, despite both of them opposing the division of Jerusalem. But Lapid declined to join Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni's effort to torpedo it. Livni still plans to appeal.  Likud-Beiteinu and Habayit Hayehudi backed it.

Speaking to German TV, Abbas said that peace talks with Israel haven't reached a dead end, making Israeli headlines. But Maariv's Asaf Gabor gives more detail of the interview, noting that Abbas said he also refused the Israeli demand that within the framework of a peace agreement, Abbas would have to give guarantees that the Palestinian state would stifle Hamas. Abbas answered saying: "No country in the world does not have a political opposition." He also said, "The Israeli demands over E. Jerusalem remove the discussions from the political sphere to the religious sphere." Gabor assumed he was talking about Israel's refusal to transfer E. Jerusalem neighborhoods and the Temple Mount to Palestinian control. Abbas added that Palestinians agree that Jerusalem will be a shared capital, with E. Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and west Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and that the city be open to the three religions. He emphasized that the goal of the talks was "the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, whose capital was Jerusalem, on the lands of the Palestinian people that were conquered in 1967 and to live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel." (NRG Hebrew)

That did not sound peace-y enough to Avigdor Lieberman, who responded to the TV interview, saying that Abbas was no partner for peace. In an interview to Israel Radio, Lieberman said there was no point seeking a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians at the moment. He said Israel should focus instead on "economic and security cooperation with the Palestinians."
Next week, the second round of releasing Palestinian prisoners will take place, raising the concern of the security establishment, writes Yedioth's Alex Fishman. Fishman writes that some of those released in previous rounds have returned to terror. He gives details of two former prisoners who were expelled - one to Gaza, the other abroad. [Fishman's definition of terror follows the Israeli security establishment definition, which also includes diplomacy and fundraising for Hamas - OH] Salah Arouri is in Turkey, reportedly involved in fundraising and logistics for Hamas. [More here.] The other example was Ayman Sharawna, (a father of nine from Hebron who was expelled to Gaza), who the security establishment says has turned into a central figure in Hamas military wing's special unit for perpetrating terror in the West Bank. Fishman also writes that all the members of this unit were former prisoners in Israeli jails.

Quick Hits:

  • Settlers attack olive harvest near Nablus - Settlers from Yitzhar on Sunday attacked a group of Palestinians and international volunteers harvesting olives in the Nablus and two international volunteers from the Israeli rights group Yesh Din were lightly injured in the attack. (Maan)
  • 2 Israeli teens arrested over racist graffiti in East Jerusalem - Israeli police on Sunday arrested two teenage Israeli girls for suspected involvement in spraying racist slurs in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah last week. (Maan)
  • Molotov cocktail thrown at settler car near Nablus - A Molotov cocktail was thrown at a settler's car near Huwwara south of Nablus on Sunday, Israel's army said. (Maan)
  • Bus passenger pulls out knife, threatens driver - Palestinian pulls knife on bus driver at entrance to Beitar Illit after driver refuses to let him get off in undesignated area. Circumstances under investigation. (Ynet)
  • EU Parliament group: Israel 'ethnically cleansing' in Negev - Israel complains to parliament's president after socialist faction holds panel claiming 'ethnic cleansing' taking place against Bedouins. (Ynet)
  • Bennett teams up with coalition chair to curb High Court powers - Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) working with Habayit Hayehudi in legislative battle with court, but Livni and Lapid object to their proposals. (Haaretz)
  • **'Bills aimed at limiting High Court's authority assassinate democracy' - MKs Yariv Levin (Likud) and Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) face scathing criticism over series of bills promoting judiciary reform. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni: These proposals are dangerous.  Shaked: Media in a hurry to depict us as fascists. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel to restrict Muslims from Ibrahimi mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) Fri and Sat - Israeli authorities have decided to restrict access to the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron's Old City to Muslims on Friday and Saturday. During this time, the mosque will be opened for Jewish settlers to celebrate the holiday "Shabbat Chayei Sarah," which marks Abraham's purchase of Hebron. (Maan)
  • Father Gabriel Nadaf: "Recruiting Christian (Arabs) is a historic move" - The Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth is not afraid of the criticism of him for his calls for Christian Israeli Arabs to join the IDF. Yesterday he met with Deputy Prime Minister Ofir Akunis to advance ways to encourage the Christians to integrate into state institutions and the IDF. (Israel Hayom, p. 21)
  • Hamas claims responsibility for tunnel under Gaza-Israel border
  • Spokesman for militant group says tunnel had been dug in effort to force Israel to release some prisoners held in its jails. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Journalists rally in Ramallah to reopen Gaza media offices - A group of journalists rallied in Ramallah on Sunday to launch a petition to reopen the Gaza bureaus of Ma'an News Agency and al-Arabiya. (Maan)
  • Likud ministers rally for Upper Nazareth mayor deposed over corruption charges - Minister Shalom, MKs Danon, Regev show up to support Upper Nazareth's Shimon Gapso, charged with bribery; letter from Netanyahu read out. Gapso is also known nationally for his pointed antagonism to Upper Nazareth's Arab population. (Haaretz)
  • Indictment: Border Guard officer, IDF soldier rob sex worker - Officer, soldier accused of entering apartment of sex worker under false pretence, carrying toy gun, fake warrant, threatening, robbing her. (Ynet)
  • Paratroopers on vacation get drunk, fire in the air - While on unit vacation, three combat paratroopers leave resort, return intoxicated, tussle with fellow soldier, grab his weapon and fire in air. IDF: Incident inconsistent with IDF values. (Ynet)
  • Family of first Arab honored for saving Jews rejects Israeli prize - Egyptian doctor Mohamed Helmy was honored posthumously last month by Israel's Holocaust memorial for hiding Jews in Berlin during Holocaust. If any other country offered to honor Helmy we would have been happy with it, says relative of late physician. (Israel Hayom)
  • NGO launches 9th annual women's film festival - Cultural NGO Shashat is launching its 9th annual women's film festival in the West Bank and Gaza Strip this week, which aims to bridge "geographic and political boundaries through its shared cinematic vision." (Maan)
  • Israeli military may start calling up reservists twice as often - Ministerial Committee for Legislation approves amendment to Reserve Service Law, angering troops. (Haaretz)
  • More Bedouin women turn to academia - Data determine that while maintaining tradition, more Bedouin women pursue education, as Bedouin society becomes more acceptable to women's education, employment. (Ynet)
  • 3rd earthquake in 4 days hits north - 3.6 magnitude quake centering in Lake Kinneret felt in Carmiel, Tiberias, Safed. 'Third time in four days, is this a sign?' Tiberias resident asks. (Ynet)
  • Longer in the tooth, but longer on the job - According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the average life expectancy for Jewish women in Israel will reach 94.9 years old by 2055, while Jewish men are expected to reach the average age of 88.7. Added age will have dramatic economic consequences. (Israel Hayom)
  • Shay Piron dismisses Haaretz poll: Yesh Atid will overtake Likud - The Education Minister responded to a survey published last week, which found the chairman of his party to be the most disappointing Israeli politician. (Haaretz)
  • Netanyahu plays down reports of Iran 'progress', stands firm on policy - On Meet the Press, Israeli PM outlines three conditions for him to support thawing assets. (Haaretz)
  • Netanyahu and the Pope: The meeting that wasn't - Despite the PMO's announcement last week that Netanyahu would be meeting with Pope Francis, such a meeting was never scheduled. However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with the Pope during a recent trip to Rome, and even received a pen as a gift that he said he hoped to use to sign a peace agreement with Israel. (Haaretz and Maan)
  • Rohani: Zionist Israelis commit acts of sabotage - Iranian president praises 'active diplomacy,' slams Israel for sabotaging Iran's efforts. Despite difference in approaches, reports suggest Obama, Netanyahu slowly finding common ground, however 'explosion' might be inevitable. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahu: Geneva nuclear talks may legitimize Iran's 'rogue regime' - Right way to deal with Iran should be to respect it, suspect it and pressure it, the prime minister told the weekly cabinet meeting.  (Haaretz)
  • Hezbollah seeking 15,000 recruits to fight against rebels in Syria - Sources near Hezbollah claim Lebanese militia plans to attack the rebels' main supply lines. (Haaretz)


An error and a mishap: A day in the life of Palestinian villagers
On a slaughterer kept from doing his job, sheep who refuse to be silent and power-hungry clerks. (Haaretz)
The Poland Question
Does the Holocaust need to be taught to children in first grade? Does every one need to make the trip to Poland (to learn about the Holocaust)? And do the trips need to be funded for children who have economic difficulties? Smadar Shir joined a special delegation of Education Minister Shai Piron that traveled to Poland to look into these issues. Piron: "I don't have the intention of scaring (pupils). But it's our obligation to the survivors, to ourselves and to the next generation." (Maariv daily 'Magazine' supplement)
The Holy Land of the West Bank's hilltop youth
Photographer Kobi Wolf heads out on a journey to Samaria, to understand what motivates young men and women to settle that land, in the latest selection on Haaretz's photography blog. (Haaretz)


Victimhood - Israelis' ultimate comfort zone (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz) When the education minister proposes making the Holocaust a mandatory subject from first grade, it is reasonable to assume he has good intentions. But he seeks to recharge a symbol that has been emptied of meaning.
The trial balloon method (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) If the U.S. begins scaling back the economic siege on Iran before the first agreement is reached on the nuclear issue, the entire sanctions effort will collapse without even a single centrifuge pausing.
Shimshon's choice - Living with the bomb (Yaron London, Yedioth) ...I believe the concern over details is clouding the trend, which we need to deal with using a thinking head. The trend is to establish a compromise between the powers and Iran and its ability to produce a nuclear weapons when it desires one. Will this mortally harm Israel? The scariest guess is that the leaders of Iran, who prophecy that an apocalypse will create a world subjugated to the will of G-d, will drop a nuclear bomb on us without thinking what will happen to their country. Four apocalypse horseback riders also are galloping in the heads of fundamentalist Christians, most of them pretending to be friends of Israel, and in a similar version, they appear in the prophecies of Israelis who desire to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. The prophecy of the last day of also in the Israeli strategic thinking. Proof of that was given recently in a series of movies on the Yom Kippur War...The rumors about Moshe Dayan's desire to consider using nuclear weapons were confirmed in the filmed testimony of Arnon Azriyahu, the advisor of Minister Yisrael Galilee. The revelation does not harm Israel's deterrence, because it shows our enemies the 'Shimshon Choice' is not a phrase empty of content. The likelihood that the Iranians will cut their own threats is about the same as the likelihood that a meteor will fall on Earth and destroy everything. ...Another threat that Israel prophecies is Iran getting immunity for acting against Israel through an Iranian nuclear umbrella...(But) nuclear deterrence will not decrease Israel's ability to strike at Hezbollah or Iranian agents in Syria. Another possibility is that Sunni Arab states will start a nuclear race of their own. Too many actors with weapons of mass destruction raises the chance of an accident...It's unpleasant to live in an environment where the neighbors are sitting on nuclear weapons, but the paradox is that increasing the threat is likely to rescue us from our isolation...A nuclear space from Afghanistan to Cairo is likely to convince the world in a way that Israel failed to. In the meantime, under the surface, positive developments are taking place: Arab Sunni states are being forced to depend on the West and strengthening their ties with Israel. The Palestinian problem is pushed to the sie and this reality allows Israel to deal with it under less pressure. A separate question is whether focus our abilities and our willingness to take advantage of this window of opportunities that has opened for us.
Jewish girls, beware of the 'evil' Arab doctor (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) How did sex, which is supposed to be an intimate matter between two adults, become the doomsday weapon of generations of racists of whatever nationality or religion?
Egypt, Obama, coups and the law (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) The Obama administration is refusing to enforce a very clear statute that requires the suspension of aid to Egypt, and that is indefensible.
Reluctant migrants, It isn't anti-Zionism that's causing Israelis to leave (Guy Rolnik, Haaretz) Nor are they optimistic about their chances elsewhere: They've despaired of their chances at home. 
The Saudis are sulking (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Only a country like Saudi Arabia -- wealthy, influential and self-confident -- could refuse, in unprecedented fashion, a seat on the U.N. Security Council.


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