News Nosh 10.01.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Tuesday October 1, 2013


Quote of the day:

"I think they understand the alternative - escalation and bloodshed, or one state - is not an option if you want to keep a Jewish, Zionist state."
-- Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi tells J-Street annual conference that even the right-wing members of the Knesset realize the two-state solution is the only relevant one.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


Peace Talk Highlights:
In the Oval Office, US President Barack Obama urges Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to speed up peace talks on core issues and at the annual J-Street Conference, US Vice-President Joe Biden says Middle East turmoil offers the best chance for Israeli-Palestinian peace, while Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi says Jerusalem is negotiable and a two-state solution is the only solution.

It appears that Palestinian complaints have reached Washington ears. Obama told Netanyahu in their meeting yesterday that core issues must be seriously discussed if the negotiations are to yield results. The Palestinians say that Israel won't even agree to talk about land swaps.

At the J-Street annual conference, Vice-President Joe Biden said that both Israel and the Palestinians have an interest "in a moderate sustainable outcome," and that the turmoil in the Middle East offers the best chance for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

**Interestingly, Likud Minister and confidante of Netanyahu, Tzachi Hanegbi, told J-Street that Jerusalem is negotiable within the framework of a peace agreement. He said that even right-wing MKs realize that the two-state solution is the only relevant solution." Barak Ravid wrote from the conference that: 'Hanegbi was joined on the panel by lawmakers from the Yesh Atid, Labor, Hatnuah and Shas parties...The diverse representation was perhaps a sign of the transition of J Street, which describes itself as "Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace," from an organization shunned by the Israeli government and standard-bearing American Jewish organizations to one more accepted by the mainstream...Labor lawmaker Merav Michaeli told reporters that J Street did not fit neatly within Israeli impressions of American Jewry. "We in Israel aware of two groups of American Jews: Those who run the foundations and are involved with groups like AIPAC, and those who don't care," Michaeli said. "But there is apparently a third kind who care but they think differently-and want their voices amplified."'
Iran-related News:
The Israeli papers all reported on how Obama tried to allay Netanyahu's fears about Iran and how Biden did the same at the J-Street annual conference. Some wrote how they 'agreed' Iran should not be nuclear. However , the devil is in the details and both US leaders actually said they oppose a nuclear armed Iran.  The papers all reported also that former Israeli Military Intel chief Amos Adlin urged cautious talks with Iran. There were also calls for Israel to sign the non-proliferation treaty and at The Hague, Israeli President Shimon Peres said that Israel was considering this. 
Obama declared that the US won't take military options off the table, despite negotiations, much to the Israeli government's satisfaction. But, except for Maariv, the headlines about what Obama and Netanyahu agreed upon in their hour-long meeting yesterday were vague. Maariv's Eli Bardenstein wrote that there are major gaps between Obama and Netanyahu and Yedioth's Orly Azoulay presented them in a table:

  • Iran should never achieve nuclear weapons.
  • The military option remains on the table.


  • US does not require complete stop of uranium enrichment or closure of nuclear facilities in order to remove economic sanctions.
  • US does not demand to remove enriched uranium from Iran or to make a time schedule to stop the nuclear program.
  • US does not rule out nuclear development for civilian use in Iran.

(More from Haaretz+ Ynet and Israel Hayom and transcript of remarks made by Obama and Netanyahu after bilateral meeting)
Nevertheless, today Netanyahu will speak at the UN General Assembly and he will make the case not to ease sanctions on Iran.

Biden also said that a nuclear armed Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel. Speaking at the national J Street conference, he also assured that Obama was committed to Israel's safety. US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro also weighed in, saying that the "US and Israel have the same goal -- to prevent an Iranian bomb." A poll found thatsays Obama and Netanyahu, set to meet on Monday, will forge a joint plan for future cooperation on Iran, without "surprises." 

Meanwhile, former Military Intel chief Amos Yadlin gave his support for talks between the US and Iran saying that the that risk of Tehran violating a deal and achieving military nuclear capability was a 'significantly smaller threat than the dangers inherent in the status quo.' Yadlin wrote this in an article published Monday by the Institute for National Security Studies and in a front-page Op-Ed in today's Yedioth. He also said this today on Army Radio.

Meanwhile, both Russia and Syria have called on Israel to get rid of WMD and sign a non-nuclear treaty. Interestingly, Peres was asked at a press conference at The Hague whether Israel would sign the treaty for non-proliferation of WMD and he answered: "The UN Security Council called on all states to do so and I believe that the government of Israel is considering this call very seriously."

Iran-related Quick Hits:

  • After more than 30 years, Iran considers resuming direct flights to U.S. - President Rohani asks aviation authorities to study the possibility of resuming direct flights between Iran and the U.S. for the first time in more than three decades. (Haaretz)
  • Police: Top echelons behind decision to expose Iranian spy - Police instructed by top echelons to motion for lifting of gag order on arrest of Ali Mansouri, who is suspected of trying to spy on Israel, police say in remand hearing. (Ynet)
  • Iranian paper calls Israel's arrest of spy a 'cheap shot' - After Israeli authorities announce arrest of Iranian citizen for espionage, Tehran Times says Israel is trying to undermine Iranian President Rouhani's successful U.S. trip. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran Guards chief: Rohani should have spurned Obama call - In first official criticism of Rohani, head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards says president should have 'refused to speak' to Obama until US put forward 'concrete action' such as 'lifting all sanctions against Iran, releasing frozen assets.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Jewish Iranian MP lauds country's religious freedom - Siamak Moreh Sedgh, director of the Tehran Jewish Committee, says Islamic Republic allows minority to practice its faith openly. (Times of Israel)
  • Report: Islamic law banning nuclear weapons a hoax - Khamenei's fatwa banning nuclear weapons use reportedly a "deception".  MEMRI founder: "It is a lie from the Iranians. ... It is tragic that President Obama has endorsed it." Middle East researcher says fatwa exists, record of it is buried in the Web. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran: Rohani dismisses Ahmadinejad's 'professor oppressor' - For eight years, Sadr-Al Din Shariati controlled Iran's Allameh Tabataba'i University with an iron fist - dismissing students, faculty for political activities, introducing gender segregation. Now Rohani responds to student protest, dismissing Teheran's mean dean. (Ynet)

Yedioth online POLL: Is Netanyahu's policy against reconciliation between the US and Iran right?

  • Yes - 34%
  • No  - 66%

Israel's Channel 10 television network aired a poll Sunday indicating that:

  • 78% of Israelis don't believe Iran truly wants to resolve the nuclear standoff
  • 59% of Israelis think the U.S. will not reach an agreement with Iran
  • 29% of Israelis expect a resolution.

The network did not say how many people were polled.

Quick Hits:

  • Israeli army confirms: Palestinian killed near Gaza border was unarmed - Golani Brigade soldiers opened fire on two Palestinians after watch post identified them as armed; IDF probe confirms the two weren't in fact carrying weapons. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Settlers detain Palestinian farmers near Nablus - Israeli settlers surrounded and confined 10 Palestinian farmers in their fields between the villages of Aqraba and Yanun south of Nablus Monday. The Palestinian liaison department contacted its Israeli counterparts in an attempt to free the farmers. (Maan)
  • Knesset panel puts off electoral threshold clause of governability law - Crisis over coalition's intention to double electoral threshold to 4%, a move that will keep small parties out of the Knesset. (Haaretz+)
  • Jordan Valley village destroyed by Israel declared closed military area - Israeli forces set-up road blocks at the entrances to the area of al-Makhoul to prevent anyone from reaching it. Israel's army is expecting Palestinian and international activists to visit the area to show solidarity with residents of Makhoul, who were forcibly displaced two weeks ago. (Maan)
  • Volunteers rebuild part of Jordan Valley village demolished by Israel - Volunteers from 10 Palestinian grassroots organizations based in Ramallah and Nablus on Monday rebuilt two tents and two steel structures in Khirbet al-Makhoul which Israeli forces demolished on Sept. 16. (Maan)
  • Arab women demonstrated in the north: "Stop murdering women and children" - Some 50 Arab women, some members of the Committee to fight murder of Arab women, demonstrated in front of the Prosecutor's Office in Upper Nazareth yesterday in protest against the negligence the institutions have shown towards enforcing the law regarding family violence and solving murders in the Arab sector. (Israel Hayom, p. 9)
  • Sheikh Jarrah: Graffiti on IDF memorial - Jerusalem police investigating whether graffiti on IDF memorial is payback for Arab vehicles damaged in neighborhood. (Ynet)
  • Petitioners drop Supreme Court bid to reopen Lieberman corruption case - Comes after court indicates it won't overturn AG's decision to close file. (Haaretz+)
  • Navy to receive 3 advanced Super Dvora boats - Within two years, IAI will provide Navy with new Super Dvora patrol boats, which are expected to secure gas rigs, coasts of northern Israel, Gaza, Red Sea. (Ynet)
  • Defense Ministry seeks to shift pension costs to treasury - With army pensions and social benefits skyrocketing, IDF warns costs could come at expense of military preparedness. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: Quarter of olim children below poverty line - Though improvement in poverty, crime rates among children of immigrant families, Immigrant Absorption Ministry, National Council for the Child report that percentage of children below poverty line higher among olim. (Ynet)
  • Egyptian physician named Righteous Among the Nations - Dr. Mohamed Helmy becomes first Egyptian individual to be recognized by Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum for his efforts to save Jews from Nazi atrocities during WWII. Helmy was helped by Freida Szturmann, who was also named Righteous Among the Nations. (Israel Hayom)
  • Deputy FM Elkin to UN: Recognize Yom Kippur as official holiday - There are currently 10 formal 'UN holidays,' among them the two Muslim holidays of Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha. (Haaretz)
  • Sister of Zuckerberg met with Lapid: "Impressive and charismatic" - Randy Zuckerberg continues to travel across Israel as part of a delegation organized by the Jewish Federation of San Francisco for hi-tech and businesspeople. In Jerusalem they met with Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Labor MK Arel Margalit and with start-up workers at the JVP Fund offices in Jerusalem. The meetings were supposed to be confidential but it seems Zuckerberg can't help herself, and has been posting updates non-stop. (Yedioth '24 Hours' supplement, p. 11)
  • Coming full circle: Lapid will speak to Hungarian Parliament - With the rise of the fascist right-wing in Hungary, Finance Minister Yair Lapid will arrive at the Parliament, where it was once written, 'No entrance to dogs and Jews,' and warn against rising anti-Semitism. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
  • Turkey unveils democratic reforms, including Kurdish rights improvements - Reforms could be key to PM Erdogan's future, as he faces down a flurry of protests. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • UN chemical weapons inspectors leave Syria - Comprehensive report on team's findings to be published by the UN next month. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • At UN, Syrian FM compares country's civil war to 9/11 - In UNGA speech, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem says 'terrorists from more than 83 countries are engaged in the killing of our people and our army under the appeal of global Takfiri jihad.' (Agencies, Haaretz)

Commentary/Analysis:Despite deep differences with Obama, Netanyahu got what he wanted (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) Obama reverted to the rhetoric Netanyahu likes to hear, but Israel's ability to influence U.S.-Iranian talks remains limited.
The tone has softened (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth) Azoulay contrasts the tone of the Prime Minister's remarks yesterday with some of his recent statements: "Yesterday at the White House Netanyahu did not preach. Instead of wrecking the party, he joined it. He spoke softly about his willingness to stand aside and not disturb things while the world examines the diplomatic option vis-à-vis Iran... However, Netanyahu seemed yesterday like he was being dragged to this party against his will, sour-faced, as if he was waiting for the Iranians' first mistake in order to shout to the world - I told you so..."
Positivity is not enough (Dr. Ephraim Kam, Israel Hayom) Rouhani has been working carefully to create a positive atmosphere and appease both the West and Iranian conservatives -- but that alone won't lift sanctions. 
Bibi's chance to stop sowing fear (Haaretz Editorial) In his speech on Iran at the UN General Assembly, the prime minister must realize that diplomacy is good for Israel, too.
Only one exposing truth (Hagai Segal, Ynet) Netanyahu has no other choice but to continue being chronic nagger warning against Iranian scheme.
Governance Law: Without Arabs and without ultra-Orthodox (Hagai Elad, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) The discussion over raising the threshold to enter the Knesset is legitimate only if it takes into account the representation of minorities. Otherwise, we will find ourselves turning into an anti-democratic country...
To catch a spy (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Unlike other intelligence agents apprehended in Israel in recent years, the Iranian spy arrested earlier this month was a professional.
Give democracy a chance, a response to Danny Danon (Legal advisor to Palestinian negotiating team John V. Whitbeck, Maan) In a NY Times Op-Ed titled "Israel Should Annul the Oslo Accordsin, Danny Danon, Israel's deputy defense minister, offered his own vision for "creating a long-term solution" to what he called, significantly, "the Palestinian problem": annulling the "Oslo Accords" and abandoning any pretense of seeking a "two-state solution."
Flowers for Rouhani (Ben-Dror Yemini, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) "About one thing there is no argument: The Iranian President's onslaught of smiles is achieving great results (and Israel) should play the game." Yemini urges the government to, "Join the onslaught of smiles. Welcome the change in Iran. Send flowers to the Iranian President's office along with a letter welcoming the change. He will get angry? The ayatollahs' regime will return the flowers? Excellent. Israel will only win points...The more it complains, the more it will be seen as spoiling the reconciliation process...Only by giving a chance, even if for show, will it be possible to expose the fraud...(Netanyahu now) "has a much tougher opponent, not nutty Ahmadinejad, but smiling Rouhani. He must respond accordingly, not in order to strengthen the fraud, but the opposite..."
Netanyahu's mistake: Turning Iran into Israel's issue (Alon Pinkas, Haaretz+) Iranian President Rohani is no born-again anti-proliferation wonk who will forgo Iran's nuclear aspirations, but Netanyahu is wrong to dismiss negotiations; an explicit U.S. policy aim - as just an Iranian ploy. 
Outline for clear fraud (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) If the sanctions imposed on Iran are lifted, they will not be reimposed.
Rouhani's Jew in the Parliament: a clear anti-Zionist (Tzvika Klein, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Dr. Siamak Moreh Sedgh decorated the Iranian President's delegation to the UN General Assembly last week. The Jewish doctor who became an MP knows how to make his masters happy and makes certain to condemn 'the war criminals of Israel' at every opportunity.
20 years of Oslo: Maybe the best thing to happen to Palestinians (Suhail Khalilieh, Maan) Whether we like it or not we (the Palestinians) have to acknowledge the benefits of Oslo for the Palestinians and while much of the sentiments toward Oslo are based on regrets, let's consider other facts that could not have happened if Palestinians did not engage in the Oslo Accords.
Erdogan's 'Quiet Revolution' reaches Kurds (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Turkey's prime minister recognizes minority's right to political representation, broader use of Kurdish language.
Rouhani, media hero (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz have a tendency to worship the enemy just because the enemy's enemy is Netanyahu.


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