News Nosh 03.25.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday March 25, 2015

Quote of the day:
"I don't think that a student can reach deep into the Israeli educational system when 20 percent of the students have an ethos, a specific story, and he does not know that story."
Former education minister Shay Piron said he supported teaching the Nakba - the Arabic word for "catastrophe," which the Palestinians use to refer to Israel's War of Independence - to all Israeli students.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
A passenger plane crashed in the Alps and US-Israel relations cracked even more when the US indirectly accused Israel of spying on Iran talks and US President Barack spoke at a press conference on the “real knotty policy difference” between the two countries, making top stories in the Hebrew newspapers.
The Israeli commentators sounded as outraged and doubtful as the Israeli government over the leak to the Wall Street Journal that the US had discovered that Israel has been spying for over a year on the secret briefings by US diplomats involved in the Iran talks. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel would never spy on its top ally and that “someone has an interest in sparking a dispute.” Most of the Israeli analysts could not believe that Israel spied on the US and they believed that the one ‘sparking the dispute’ – or rather reacting to the ongoing spiraling Obama-Netanyahu relations - was the Obama administration. [See Analysis/Commentary below.] Maariv’s Ben Caspit thinks this is Obama’s response to Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and his attempt to stop the Iran talks. “The leak was meant to hurt Israel’s credibility even more, to drive a wedge between Netanyahu and Congress, and to reconnect between the President and the Democratic party…Obama is fighting over his legacy, his party, his rule.” Yedioth’s Ronen Bergman has his doubts over whether the leak was true, but tries to justify it by saying that the US did it (to German Chancellor Angela Merkel), so why can’t Israel do it to an ally. Bergman’s concludes that “the significance needs to be clear: Someone who is very angry at us is broadcasting to the world through this leak that Israeli is undermining US interests. And it would be a mistake to think that Obama’s anger won’t seep down the ladder of the ranks on the willingness of US military and intelligence commanders to aid Israel to preserve its security.” Israel Hayom spent a few pages on Obama-bashing. Boaz Bismuth called the leak "Obama's personal vendetta."
At a press conference yesterday, Yedioth wrote that the “US President gave the cold shoulder” and “stung” Netanyahu. Obama did not answer questions regarding the spying affair, but said that if and when there is a deal with Iran there will be no reason to spy because all the details will be open for everyone. The ‘sting’ was in Obama’s lack of belief in Netanyahu following his contradictory statements. Obama said that while no one envisioned that the creation of a Palestinian state would happen "overnight”, the goal was to give Palestinians hope for a secure state adjoining Israel. "It's hard to envision how (a two-state solution) happens based on the prime minister's statements.” Hence, the US would have to reassess its policy in dealing with the conflict, said Obama. He emphasized that security and intelligence cooperation would continue and “the Israeli people need to know that.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is expected to be tasked with forming Israel’s next government and he has already appointed Moshe Kahlon of the Kulanu party as Finance Minister. The fight now is over Defense Minister. Both Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett want it. 

Quick Hits:
  • Arab lawmakers to lead march for Bedouin rights from Negev to Jerusalem - The Joint List said that at the end of the march it will present President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset with plan to recognize all 46 of these villages. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian PM Hamdallah to lead delegation to Gaza for meeting with Hamas - Wednesday meeting is part of efforts to repair extensive damage done to the Strip during summer 2014 war with Israel. Hamas said visit won't help Gaza's residents if it's only for show. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian School students use sewage channels to reach school - Up to 200 students from Ramallah-area villages of al-Tira and Beit Ur al-Fuqa now reach the school using a four kilometer route that runs along the separation wall, where armed settlers, as well as Israeli soldiers, almost daily interrupt their commute, which takes up to 40 minutes. (Maan)
  • Report: 30 children shot by Israeli forces since the start of 2015 - Defense for Children International-Palestine reported that while Israeli military regulation permits use of live ammunition when a direct mortal threat exists, organization found no evidence that any of children injured in 2015 posed such a threat to Israeli forces or settlers. (Maan
  • Gaza children protest Israel blockade - The children held signs reading "No to the unfair siege on Gaza," "It is my right to live safely," and others demanding to find a solution to Gaza's electricity problem. (Maan)
  • Gazans protest power outage in front of distribution company - Protesters failed to reconnect power lines feeding electricity (from Egypt) into the city of Khan Younis. The disconnection caused a blackout across entire city. Israel Hayom reported that Egypt closed the power due to debts. (Maan and Israel Hayom, p. 19) 
  • West Bank hasbara (advocacy): Settlers host Israeli diplomats - Fifty ambassadors and other diplomats visit Samaria region for educational tour of area as part of preparations for oversea missions. (Ynet
  • British Foreign Office concerned over 'radical settler activities' in E. Jerusalem - Elad settlers took possession of residential building in Silwan last week; residents have blamed group for what they say are careless excavations. (Haaretz)  
  • **Ex-Education Minister Piron backs teaching Nakba to all Israeli students - Piron had told Haaretz before the election that it was 'important to separate politics from the educational curriculum.' (Haaretz+)
  • Nativity Church deportees demand end to exile - Palestinians who were deported from Bethlehem to the Gaza Strip in 2002 on Tuesday issued several demands to the Palestinian Authority to end their exile. (Maan)
  • Israel to open closed checkpoint, village entrance in Tulkarem - The IDF closed the checkpoint in August and the road to Ramin has been inaccessible since it was closed in 2002 during the second intifada. (Maan)
  • Palestinian sentenced to 12 years for attempted kidnap, firebombing - Jenin man convicted of attempted abduction of couple from Galilee at knifepoint in April to negotiate release of Palestinian prisoners, firebomb attacks on cars. (Ynet)
  • Adult and 2 minors (Jewish) were arrested on suspicion of throwing fire bombs – The three were taken for questioning for throwing firebombs outside the home of former Shas leader Eli Yishai, following a support rally support for him and against Shas leader Arieh Deri. (Maariv
  • Algeria to contribute $52.8 million to PA's March budget - Al-Arbawi added that the funding reflected Algeria's continuing support for the Palestinian cause in achieving their legitimate rights to establish an independent state with its capital in Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • Israel Police made 12% more arrests in 2014 than in 2013 - Data spark claims of possible false arrests and criticism by former chief justice Beinisch of 'unnecessary detentions' and of a police scheme of filling arrest quotas. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli army to lay off 2,000 career officers by 2017 - Cutbacks in personnel will return army to pre-Second Lebanon War levels; training to continue unabated. (Haaretz+)  
  • Two voting stations disqualified, but not enough to change election result - The police will now investigate suspicions of irregularities in the town of Kafr Qasem. (Haaretz+)
  •  Student teachers to bolster school staff — for a pittance - Participating education students will receive 1,000 shekels a month for a half-time teaching job. (Haaretz)
  • Bank of Israel report reveals Israeli public pays NIS 7.4B for health care - New report reveals upsetting data: Israelis pay for more than third of healthcare costs, while private healthcare bleed out HMO funds. (Ynet)
  • TechNation / Facebook to hire 40 for new Tel Aviv office - Utility deluged by hackers during war; Comverse workforce in Israel unionizes. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF troops want pay increase - to minimum wage - With Passover approaching, conscripted soldiers say their meager monthly allowance means they cannot afford to buy food to mark the holiday. (Ynet)
  • Israeli tourism industry praying for a Russian revival - Some see feint signs of a recovery despite the big power's economic woes. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israel to host world's biggest science conference - Dozens of world renowned scientists, Nobel Prize laureates and 400 young people considered the future generation of global science will participate in a major event in Jerusalem this summer. (Ynet)
  • Israeli organizer of U.K. conference on Israel's right to exist remains defiant  - Professor Oren Ben-Dor, outspoken critic of Israel, says criticism over Southampton University conference comes from fear of real dialogue. (Haaretz+)
  • In effort to defend Islam, CIA chief says ISIS not motivated by religion - Islamic State group "is a corruption of the Islamic faith. ... It does not represent the Muslim community or Islam," CIA chief John Brennan tells Fox News. Asked if they are Islamic extremists, he says, "I'm prepared to say that they are extremists." (Israel Hayom
  • Cairo axes Islam heroes from school curriculum - In ideological battle against Islamist terrorist groups, Cairo removes from national curriculum iconic stories of Saladin and Uqba ibn Nafi, saying that they 'encourage acts of violence' like ISIS. (Ynet)
  • Militant attacks in Egypt's Sinai kill 2 troops, policeman - Roadside bomb strikes passing armored vehicle, killing the two troops and seriously wounding six others. In separate incident, police conscript shot to death by suspected militants. Militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis believed to be behind attacks. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Senate will vote on Iran sanctions bill if there is no nuke deal - Lawmakers would move ahead on a bill to toughen sanctions on Iran if negotiators miss the March 31 deadline, majority leader says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran film portrays Prophet Mohammed, drawing criticism - Most expensive movie in Shiite nation's history draws fire from Sunnis, who reject any depiction of prophet and his close associates. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Saudi Arabia moving military equipment to near Yemen border, U.S. officials say - Force buildup follows advance of Iranian-backed Houthi militants who control the capital Sanaa. (Agencies, Haaretz)

J Street’s fiery rock star Stav Shaffir has a suggestion: 'Occupy Zionism'
Just like Senator Elizabeth Warren, with whom she met on Tuesday, the red-haired Labor MK preaches social justice and 2-state solutions to her adoring liberal fans. (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+ and VIDEO of Shaffir's famous ‘This is Zionism’ speech in Knesset with English captions)

Netanyahu, actions speak louder than words (Haaretz Editorial) A lip-service apology is also not enough. If Netanyahu really regrets his remark against Arab citizens of Israel, he must halt anti-democratic legislation. 
Netanyahu may have apologized, but the damage has been done (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister's apology over his anti-Arab comments wasn't directed at Israel's Arabs; it was directed at the Obama administration, Western European governments and the US Jewry.
My version of Zionism is now beyond the pale (Guy Spigelman, Haaretz+) Something broke on March 18, and I'm left wondering: Do I still belong here? 
Israel needs a unity government (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) A state is not a guinea pig; past experience shows that a national unity government, with all its problems, is the preferable option.
Why Israelis really reelected Netanyahu (Steven Klein, Haaretz+) It wasn't simply a matter of responding to fear-mongering and racism. We all voted for hope, right and left alike, yet we are divided on what we hope for.
For Religious Zionism, Likud's win was too big (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) A rightist-haredi government will leave Netanyahu defenseless vis-à-vis the world and force him to make dramatic moves; if I were the Yesha Council, I would advocate a national unity government.  
Israel's indwelling bomb: The internal intifada of racism (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Welcome to Israel, 2015, where the prime minister warns of voting Arab hordes, the foreign minister threatens dissenters with decapitation, and a disappointed leftist voter tells rightists to 'Drink cyanide.'
A gold medal in hypocrisy (Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) The arrogant Left has never learned any lessons, so it has nothing to do but continue to spew hatred and incitement. 
The ongoing Obama-Netanyahu feud: genuine outrage or cynical strategy? (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The latest spy story in the Wall Street Journal is a shot across the bow meant to show that U.S.-Israeli tensions won’t stop at the top.
The crisis with the US: Netanyahu sowed rain, and now we are reaping a storm (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The US is a superpower, Israel is a tiny country. We need them, not the other way around. Netanyahu went into the lion's den in Congress, stuck his tongue out at Obama and now he is paying for it.
White House intervention has gone too far (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) It's one thing for Obama to have a problem with Netanyahu, but he should at least respect Israeli voters. It's true, we are a small country and we need to get along with our big ally. But they must also learn to get used to living with us. 
Obama made it clear to Netanyahu through the Wall Street Journal that reads him like an open book (Ron Miburg, Maariv) The leak to the Wall Street Journal journalist is a warning shot to the Prime Minister. This is a deliberate and timed leak that indicates a serious escalation and serious deterioration in the shaky relations between the two countries.
No prospect for genuine Israeli-Palestinian peace (Yossi Kuperwasser, Haaretz+) The Palestinians continue to prefer not to establish a state if it involves recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. 
Good cop and bad cop - Arieh Eldad: "Good thing that Piron, who said he supported teaching about the Nakba, is no longer the Minister of Education" (Arieh Eldad and Ben Caspit, Maariv) Ben Caspit thinks the Americans crossed the line when they leaked to the Wall Street Journal that Israel spies on them with regard to negotiations with Iran. Aryeh Eldad thinks Piron lost his way and cannot differentiate between a vicious lie and the right of the Jewish people.
US accusations of Israeli espionage – why now? (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The Obama administration has launched a media blitz against Netanyahu, fearing a narrow right-wing government that could be a potential 'nightmare' for the US.
Israel Elections: Tel Aviv's bubble bursts (Kobi Niv, Haaretz+) To prophesy 18 Knesset seats for Likud, only for it to receive 30, is not a failure of calculation or minor mistake. It is an unhinged, autistic, almost pathological reading of reality.
Now it’s time for the left to never stop apologizing (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The mourning period is over and the wounds have been licked, so it's time to begin adjusting. After all, Mubarak ruled for 30 years, Gadhafi for 42. 
Healing the rift (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Israeli society needs to start a process of reconciliation, which will require forgiveness.
Racism in Israel cuts much deeper than black and white (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Deep-seated prejudices and resentments, always simmering below the surface, exploded into view during the hard-fought election campaign.

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