News Nosh 03.31.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday March 31, 2015

Quote of the day:
"Land Day symbolizes more than anything the exclusion, complacency, and discrimination against the Arab minority, which will continue to fight for its basic rights."
--MK Ahmed Tibi of the Joint List speaking at the quiet marking of Land Day in Rahat.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Olmert convicted
  • Without discounts // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • The man who attacked Yehonatan Geffen was arrested
  • Neglected to death – Another infant of foreign workers died in an unmonitored daycare – fifth incident in two months
  • Israel Prize for lifetime achievement to Haim Topol
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • (Ehud Olmert) On the way to jail
  • In the end, justice won // Mordechai Gilat
  • The tower of cards collapsed // Dan Margalit  
  • Yedioth’s disappointment // Dror Eydar
  • Obama in race till last moment for agreement
  • Clock is working for Iran’s benefit // Boaz Bismuth
  • For fifth time: Baby of foreigners died in ‘child storage room’ in south Tel-Aviv
  • On the roof: Haim Topol won Israel Prize for lifetime achievement

News Summary:
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of breach of trust and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the deadlocked Iran nuclear talks the day before the deadline tonight making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, today President Reuven Rivlin will inaugurate the 20th Knesset in a celebratory ceremony. Out of 120 seats, 39 will be taken by new MKs. Barely making the news was the unusual marking by Israeli Arabs of the 39th Land Day. And Israel Hayom made an interesting omission about J Street in its English translation.
**The 39th Land Day was remarkable this year because the Arab Israeli leadership decided not to hold a general strike and no road blocks were made, so there were no clashes with Israeli security forces in Israel. However, only Haaretz+’s Jack Khoury noted this in a full article. Land Day commemorates the day in 1976 when Israeli soldiers gunned down six Arab citizens who were protesting the expropriation of some 5,000 acres of their land. The other main Hebrew newspapers reported on the day in a caption with a photo – and that photo in both Yedioth and Israel Hayom was of Palestinians in the West Bank town of Huwwara being tear-gassed by Israeli forces. In Yedioth the title was ‘Hot Land Day,’ which was actually the opposite of how Land Day passed in Israel. However, Ynet’s Hassan Shaalan also reported at length on Land Day interviewing Arab citizens, who said they were disappointed there was no strike. Maariv’s photo and article showed Arab MKs from the Joint List sitting in a row at the day’s main ceremony with some Palestinian flags waving in the background. MK Jamal Zahalka was quoted saying, "We will not allow a second Nakba in the Negev” and MK Basel Ghattas said: "The Arab citizens need to take possession of the land which was stolen and confiscated by the State."
Interestingly, in an Op-Ed by retired right-wing ambassador Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom omitted translating the words ‘anti-Israeli’ in its English version. Shoval actually wrote in yesterday’s Hebrew Israel Hayom: “Statements like Obama's or those made by the White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough before the anti-Israeli J Street lobby…” as can be seen here.

Quick Hits:
  • Israel holds Palestinian minister after IDF judge orders his release - Jamil Barghouti, arrested during a demonstration on Saturday, claims police singled him out in advance. (Haaretz+)
  • Court Petition: Include Arabic books Upper Nazareth public library - Two Arab residents of Upper Nazareth asked the court to include books in their language in the city’s libraries: "The Arabs constitute about 20% of the city, but there are no enrichment activities for us.” (Maariv
  • PLO member accuses Israel of war crimes over Har Homa - Located [over the Green Line - OH] on the city’s southern end, the neighborhood of some 20,000 residents, creates a wedge between Israeli Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem from the nearby Palestinian city of Bethlehem. (JPost/Maariv)
  • Hamas to face war crimes claims in US - Complaint to US Justice Department targets Hamas leaders and members of launching cell for firing missiles at Ben Gurion International Airport during Operation Protective Edge. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Ex-army battalion commander to retire over sex misconduct - Givati Brigade’s Lt. Col. Liran Hajibi pleads guilty to improper acts, ‘some of which were of a sexual nature,’ against two female soldiers under his command. (Haaretz+) 
  • Petition calls on Israel to upgrade army draftees to minimum wage - High Court of Justice also called on government to rethink its position on the low salary levels paid to soldiers. (Haaretz+)
  • Police arrest man suspected of attack on author, songwriter Yehonatan Geffen - Police have yet to rule out the possibility the attack was not politically motivated. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israel Prison Service considering special wing for Olmert - The former prime minister 'is a very senior figure; we all know that terror activists in the Arab world would want to hurt him,' senior prison service official says. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israel charges Palestinian with fighting with ISIS in Syria - Khalil Khalil, 25, trained in a Jerusalem gym before heading for Syria to join militant group, Shin Bet accuses. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet
  • Protesting restrictions against anti-Israel speakers, Muhlenberg’s Hillel president resigns - Caroline Dorn says steps down because Allentown, Pa. college was barred from hosting Jewish civil rights veterans. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Is Israel getting its very own version of Fox News? - Channel 20, which has been broadcasting Jewish heritage programming with a right-wing bent since 2014, is planning to request a license to set up a news company. (Haaretz+)  
  • Obama as Pharaoh: Israeli singer releases Passover song referring to 'stupid president' - Outspoken singer Amir Benayoun has released several overtly political songs in the past, including one calling a fictional Arab student as 'ungrateful scum.' (Haaretz)
  • Iranian journalist seeks political asylum at nuclear talks - Former Rouhani advisor requests Swiss asylum, citing censorship laws as he reports on negotiations. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Middle East updates / Report: At least 35 killed in Saudi-led airstrikes in central Yemen - Saudi-led coalition strikes Houthi targets across Yemen overnight; China completes evacuation of its nationals from Yemen; Canadian Parliament backs air strikes on ISIS in Syria ; U.S. supports, would cooperate with proposed Arab force. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • U.S. would support regional Arab military force, defense secretary says - Pentagon will cooperate with proposed force where U.S. and Arab interests coincide, Ash Carter tells reporters. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Iran: US drone kills 2 Iranian advisers in Iraq; US denies claim - Revolutionary Guard says incident occured on March 23; US Embassy in Baghdad says international coalition aimed at Islamic State only. (Agencies, Ynet

What does the 'Facebook spy' reveal about Israel's hand in Syria war?
Alongside the potential security damage, a Druze supporter of the Assad regime has succeeded in annoying the Israeli authorities by touching a sensitive nerve. Only one of the crimes that Sudki Makat is charged with for now is connected to direct contact with an enemy agent — Assad’s bureau chief — and it is quite doubtful that in light of all the things the Syrian regime has to worry about these days, it has the time to operate a spy in Israel. The other claims in the indictment relate to things Makat posted on his Facebook page. (Amos Harel, Haaretz+)

In judging Iranian deal, the devil is not in the details (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Public opinion will be swayed by prejudice and propaganda, because hardly anyone understands the nuclear mumbo-jumbo. 
WATCH: What Iran has already gained from nuclear talks (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz VIDEO+) Haaretz's Middle East Affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el explains what – beyond a nuclear program – Iran seeks to achieve from negotiations, and what implications a deal would have on Israel.
Claims against Netanyahu's 'racism' are hypocritical (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Instead of warning against Israel's law-abiding and loyal Arab citizens, the prime minister should have focused on the Joint Arab List, which undermines Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and has leaders who feel closer to Hamas. 
The Bedouin are not Israel's enemy (Haaretz Editorial) The racist, paternalist attitudes informing the recent proposals to regulate Bedouin settlement must be discarded.
Will Israel's ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert go to jail after new conviction? (Ido Baum, Haaretz+) After convictions of aggravated fraud and breach of trust, new judge in retrial says Olmert should have been charged in initial trial. He is likely to appeal sentence, to be handed down in May.
America's incomprehensible conduct (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) All Obama and Kerry care about is a historical "legacy" – a deal with Iran and a Palestinian state. 
Saudi Arabia’s young prince of politics goes to war in Yemen (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) The Saudis' war in Yemen belongs to a new strategy that is not unconnected to the character of its new leadership, 
When Iran controls the Houthis, Saudi goes to war (Yaron Friedman, Yedioth/Ynet) Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is multi-faceted: Poverty and neglect that led Houthis to rebel; fear of Iranian imperialism that led Saudi to attack; cynical manner in which Iran used operation in nuclear talks and risk Tehran takes in supporting the Houthis. And how do Jews and 'Zionist regime' play into it all?  
Israel, Arab world find common ground over Iran (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) Amid Iranian nuclear talks in Lausanne, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries seek to halt Tehran’s influence in the Middle East. 
A glorious chapter in the march of folly (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) The West is powering ahead on autopilot toward a catastrophic deal with Iran.
The rise and fall of our divided, miserable Israel (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz+) Only Likud succeeded in containing the new patriotism by turning Mizrahim into part of the 'warrior tribe.'
Save Israel from its collective suicide, Obama (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) It is our moral duty and civil right to encourage the president to act against Israel's racist and anti-democratic regime.
Three points to make when fighting over Israel at the Passover Seder (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) It will be impossible to bridge the gaps between the leftists and rightists, because both will be correct. So, I offer three things worth noting. 
President Carter and Israel -- again (Elliot Abrams, Israel Hayom) ‎Carter wants more pressure on Israel and does not even mention Egypt's ‎blockade when he discusses Gaza's problems.
Channel 20: An illegal outpost on our television screens (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) By displaying an Israeli flag every second of every day, the cable station – which is supposed to broadcast Jewish content, not right-wing propaganda – looks more like the state-run channel in some dictatorial Arab regime.
Iran deal would be worst U.S. betrayal of Israel yet (Seth Lipsky, Haaretz+) The last time an Israeli premier stood quietly by while the U.S. tried to cut a separate peace, the Jewish State got bubkes.

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