News Nosh 08.29.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Thursday August 29, 2013


Quote of the day:

"The soldiers exposed themselves to unnecessary danger..."
--IDF disciplines a group of soldiers serving in Hebron who crashed a Palestinian wedding party and danced with the guests to PSY.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • From tonight: (Attack on Syria) at any moment
  • The attack in Syria and us: Answers to worrying questions
  • Better to calm down // Shimon Shiffer
  • They understand force // Alex Fishman


  • Diplomatic contacts to delay attack against Assad. Senior officials in Russia: We won't intervene
  • Loud silence // Amir Rappaport on Israel's position
  • All the possibilities are being examined // Ahikam Moshe David on the scenarios (Hebrew)
  • Damascus is going underground // Asaf Gabor on the fear in Syria
  • The panic for gas masks (Hebrew)
  • "The election of Obama did not bring about a change in the reality. We have a black president, but children are still being sentenced based on their color" - 50 years after historic "I have a dream" speech...Martin Luther King III, who continues his father's path, admits there is still a long way to go

Israel Hayom


News Summary:
The top story in the Israeli papers today was the countdown to the US attack on Syria and how Israeli Intel officials believed there was little chance that Syria would retaliate by attacking Israel. Israeli officials are not only trying to keep a low profile, so as not to disrupt the alliance with Jordan and Saudi Arabia to attack, but it is also trying to calm its citizens, who are in a panic. There was pushing and hitting in lines that were hours-long for gas masks yesterday.
The UK called for a delay in the attack until proof is shown by the UN inspectors, and Russia said it would not intervene if Syria were attacked.
The Syrians are keeping up their threats. The Syrian Prime Minister said Syria would surprise the invaders "like on Yom Kippur" and
a regime officer said the Syrian Army may use kamikaze pilots against the West.

While senior Israeli military officers told the press that the likelihood of an attack on Israel is low, they are sure that an 'American action is imminent.' Nevertheless, Israel has yet to receive information on the timing.

But Israel is preparing. Israel's political-security cabinet convened on Wednesday morning to discuss the possible US strike on Syria. The Army has given approval to recruit thousands of reservists, but it has in actuality only recruited a few hundred soldiers defined as essential, including the air force, Military Intelligence and Home Front Command, as well as units operating the Iron Dome aerial defense system. But the IDF has put another Iron Dome anti-missile battery near Haifa. (NRG Hebrew) Moreover, the IDF stressed that the alert level has yet to be raised. "This will change only when the Americans launch an operation," the officer said, clarifying that "the units have not been given instructions."

NRG Hebrew reported that schools in the north are being required to do emergency drills by Monday.

The panic over getting gas mask kits has led to people fighting in lines that last for hours outside distribution points. NRG Hebrew reported that some people were selling their masks on eBay from $30 to $175. However, the protection kit can be bought for 222 shekels for people who are not Israeli citizens or legal residents of the country. Meanwhile, the website for ordering a gas mask crashed. (NRG Hebrew) MK Eli Yishai, who heads the Knesset sub-committee for preparing the Home Front, warned that Israel cancelled the budget to supply more gas masks. (NRG Hebrew) Haaretz tells you where you can get your gas mask.

Former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei, also known as Abu Alaa', gave an interview to Maariv's Asaf Gabor, in which he said that if Syria were attacked, the regional consequences will be harsh. The papers also managed to get interviews with Syrians in Syria, who begged for help from the world. Haaretz  interviewed one Damascus resident on Skype, who described the alleged chemical attack.

Quick Hits:

  • UN agency in tiff with Israeli government over worker's death - Israel criticizes UNRWA after it issues statement following death of its employee in Qalandia riots allegedly by IDF; Relief agency claims investigation underway, man was innocent bystander; Foreign Ministry says soldiers fired back after being met with Moltov cocktails, feeling lives in danger. (Ynet)
  • Extracting politics from schools aim of new Education Ministry initiative - Idea for policy-directing committee of professionals far from new; Its actualization among central election promises of Yesh Atid. (Haaretz)
  • Israel backtracks on confiscating Palestinian families' East Jerusalem hotel - The state had invoked the Absentee Property Law to seize the Cliff Hotel, located some 50 meters from the Palestinian Parliament in Abu Dis, but cut off from its owners. (Haaretz)
  • Israel rejected plan that would avoid splitting Beit Safafa, documents reveal - Recently revealed documents contradict Israel's claim that it cannot build a tunnel for a new Jerusalem road to avoid cutting an Arab village in two. (Haaretz)
  • No. 2 in Washington embassy suspended, stays in Israel - Eran Etzion, a senior diplomat at the Foreign Ministry, may be denied post due to Shin Bet investigation. Colleagues left in the dark on allegations, but think it is because of leak. Spokesman: Appointment delayed due to personal reasons. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli fighter jets cleared to fly again, two months after crash - Decision follows findings of interim probe of July crash off Gaza coast. (Haaretz)
  • **IDF soldiers caught on film dancing at Palestinian wedding - WATCH: During a celebration in Hebron, IDF soldiers from the Givati Brigade decided to join in on the dance floor - clad in full battle gear. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israel's healthcare system ranked fourth in world; U.S. trails behind - U.S. is near bottom of list of 48 countries ranked by Bloomberg for the quality of their healthcare systems. (Haaretz)


The Israeli army's double-edged strategy in face of Syria strike fallout (Amos Harel, Haaretz) IDF urges Israeli public to calm down but also get ready for the unlikely possibility that Assad will respond to a U.S. strike by attacking Israel.
No choice but to act (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) There is no other alternative. The upcoming American strike on Syria is an attack of no choice.
Peace vs. UNRWA (Asaf Romirowsky, Ynet) UN agency's anomalous treatment of Palestinian refugees prolongs Mideast conflict.
King's dream, still deferred in Israel (Ze'ev Portner and Amit Oz, Haaretz) Martin Luther King's empathy toward the Jewish state and the prominent role of U.S. Jews in the civil rights struggle can only be honored by countering the racism that has become politically mainstream in Israel.
Waiting for the American cop (Eliezer Marom, Yedioth/Ynet) Despite urge to intervene in Syria, State of Israel is committed, first and foremost, to its own security interests.
What is the mission? (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) An American strike against Syria is a fait accompli. The only question is the target: Assad's weapon depositories or his actual seat of power.
An Israeli in Malaysia (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) There are states whose governments are hostile to Israel, but one can still feel at ease as an Israeli.
The shape of the battle to come (Aharon Lapidot, Israel Hayom) Cruise missiles against missile depots, air bases, and air defenses. Chemical weapons depots are unlikely to be targeted. Israel is vulnerable to Assad's medium-range missiles should he launch them.
No need to panic (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Israelis must keep in mind that while Assad regime is cruel, it has always acted rationally.
The strategic blindness of Israel's right-wing politicians (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz) With the Mideast headed for a period of protracted chaos, Israel's strategic relationship with the West is more important than ever; the occupation is jeopardizing these ties.
Arabs give Assad the cold shoulder (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The Arab world no longer sees Syria as the cradle of Arab civilization and have sided with the West.
From Zionist grandfather to chemical cannibal: Bashar Assad, Syria and more (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Israelis historically see Syria a cruel and callous enemy; traumas of 1973 and 1990 increase their anxiety; a strong Syria attack could weaken U.S. resolve on Iran.
A united world should not fear Assad (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Assad has to go, even if Putin is guarding him. This is without a doubt the biggest confrontation between the U.S. and Russia since the end of the Cold War.

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