News Nosh 12.18.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Wednesday December 18, 2013


Quote of the day:

"The moment you release your pain and you're not constantly absorbed in it, you can also understand the pains of others, and that's what I do."
--Arab Israeli actor Elias Mattar on his role portraying a Holocaust survivor.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
Today's top story was Israeli tycoon Nochi Dankner's loss of control over the country's largest conglomerate, IDB. The papers also reported on the crisis of relations between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, which has focused on the appointment of a new chair for the powerful Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee and now threatens to breakup the coalition. Yedioth and Maariv discussed the dilemma Netanyahu faces between two great powers - the US and China - in a US trial over the death of an American-Israeli that implicates a Chinese bank in terror funding. Netanyahu is accused of caving in to Chinese pressure by blocking a key witness from testifying. Meanwhile, the papers reported that a bill will be voted on in Knesset that if passed would block negotiating over the future of Jerusalem with the Palestinians without the support of at least 80 MKs. The bill has received the support of the government cabinet. That may not come as a surprise to Palestinians. A Palestinian poll shows that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are pessimistic about the current round of peace negotiations with Israel and oppose their continuation.


Quick Hits:

  • Lapid and Bennett agreed: Money for Judea and Samaria in exchange for budget money for Birthright - The solution was made possible after the finance minister pledged to transfer 88 million shekels for settlements, which led to the agreement of by Habayit Hayehudi to release funds for the programs that bring students from overseas to visit Israel. (Maariv, p. /NRG Hebrew)
  • Israeli forces hold military drill in between Palestinian homes - 5,000 heavily armed Israeli soldiers arrived in the village of Arab al-Rashayida near Bethlehem at dawn Tuesday and held a military drill for several hours in between residential homes. This also caused damage to the village's water grid. (Maan)
  • Israel confiscates private Palestinian land near Nablus - Israeli authorities confiscated ten dunams and restricted access to 500 dunams of private agricultural Palestinian land in the village of Qusra south of Nablus on Tuesday. The land is located between the village and an illegal Israeli settlement outpost called Esh Kodesh. (Maan)
  • US court urged to reject Israeli attempt to silence witness - After Israel back tracks from support of anti-terror funding case against Chinese bank citing security concerns, parents of US teenager killed in suicide bombing file motion claiming Netanyahu buckling to pressure from China despite past support, revealing Israel has secret anti-terror funding Mossad unit. (Yedioth, p.1/Ynet)
  • "There has been a hostile takeover of lands around Jerusalem" - This is what the Knesset Subcommittee on issues of Judea and Samaria (W. Bank) determined in a hearing on the subject of Palestinian construction in E1. The subcommittee also demanded to regulate (Palestinian) Bedouin settlement living there. (NRG Hebrew)
  • **Arab (Israeli) actor portrays Holocaust survivor - How can young Arab man play Jewish child who survived Nazis? 'Everyone who knows me accepts it. My humanism is even more important to me than acting,' says Elias Matar of northern village of I'billin. (Ynet)
  • (Jewish) Pro-Bedouin protester released to house arrest after more than two weeks jail - No evidence that Eldad Zion was violent during demonstration, says judge, though he may have assaulted police later. (Haaretz)
  • Financed by the state and acts against military conscription - Head of the Christian Orthodox community in Israel, Dr. Azmi Hakim encourages violence against any (Arab) that supports the military and calls on Christian Arabs not to enlist, (claims the right-wing organization Im Tirtzu). (Maariv, p. 17/NRG Hebrew)
  • Missing Gaza man detained by Israeli forces - Omar Ismail Wadi, 22, from Gaza, who was reported missing by his family over a month ago is being held in an Israeli jail. He was detained by Israeli forces after crossing the security fence between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. (Maan)
  • 'Pro-Israel' discussion in New York ends in walkout, insults and recriminations - A night to remember at the 92nd Street Y, as Commentary editor John Podhoretz storms off the stage, leaving puzzled panelists and a stunned audience. (Haaretz)
  • Jewish Studies scholars rue 'misguided' boycott of Israeli academia - As American Studies Association stands behind symbolic boycott, some of their colleagues worry that Israel-bashing has become trendy in U.S. academia. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • (Ultra-Orthodox) Rabbis paint anti-enlistment battle as matter of 'life and death' - "We are fighting for our lives; they don't understand," says rabbi at anti-draft rally. "They want to kill us, all of us. The Torah is our life, and [yeshiva] students must take this to heart and know that this is a war of life and death." (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian media group says 'worrying' press violations by Palestinian Authority in West Bank - A Palestinian media watchdog monitored a series of arrests and verbal and physical abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in November , which it said was a "warning sign of a deterioration in the status of media freedoms." (Maan
  • Wagner conference interrupted by Hatikva-singing heckler - 'Dachau, Auschwitz, Kapos,' young man yells at audience in Jerusalem. (Haaretz)
  • Storm disaster in Gaza 'man-made' - Emergency response crews have been crippled by a lack of electricity to pump water and a lack of fuel to operate generators. These conditions of scarcity are due to the Israeli-led siege and the severe limitations placed by Israel on imports and exports. (Maan)
  • Defense Minister: "When there is a crisis in Gaza, turn to Haniyeh not to me" - In a conversation with Maariv/NRG, Minister Yaalon went against the UN Secretary General, who demanded of the Minister to allow construction materials into Gaza, saying that you can not rely on Hamas. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
  • In first, Sheba doctors save Syrian refugee boy's life - Four-year-old Syrian boy with a rare heart condition undergoes life-saving surgery at Israel's Sheba Medical Center. "The Israeli doctors saved his life and I am happy to have met this country," says the boy's father after the successful surgery. (Israel Hayom)
  • Tamar gas field could provide gas to Jordanian potash works - "The Wall Street Journal" reports a possible deal between the Tamar partners and Arab Potash Company. (Globes)

Commentary/Analysis:Failed policies of repression (Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu must change his attitude toward Israel's non-Zionist communities - the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox - and strive to forge with them a shared national vision.
The world is (almost) all against us - The flood of boycotts is nearer (Eitan Haber, Yedioth) ...It turns out that not all they goyim (non-Jews) are stupid and that we are not the smartest. In international politics it is customary many times to ignore, to pretend you don't know, didn't hear and didn't see, and to wait patiently for the right moment...The Europeans believe, apparently, that this is the right moment to strike us - just when we're holding negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. They believe that nothing good will come of this so now is the time to pull out the boycott weapon against settlement products and, at this celebratory occasion, also against Israel...But we will continue to think that the whole world is stupid and just we are smart.
First steps toward silencing dissent in Israel (Daniel Sokatch, Haaretz) The real goal of the ultra-nationalist right in the Knesset is much bigger, and far more dangerous, than putting a few radical NGOs out of business.
The un-American Studies Association (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) This move will not harm Israel, but it is enlightening for anyone with children attending college that the American Studies Association harbors such an extraordinary bias. 
John Kerry the next President? (Yossi Shine, Yedioth) "In effect, regarding American foreign policy, it seems that Obama has left the field to Kerry... (Kerry) believes that it is possible to change the entire [regional] picture with one achievement - an Israeli-Palestinian agreement." Shine wonders if Kerry would like to use such an agreement as a springboard to seek the presidency in 2016. Shine warns that if Kerry's efforts fail, "There is a danger that instead of the promised land, we will reach a boiling point. Kerry has no scenarios for the explosions. After him, the deluge."
Lone soldier syndrome (Alex Fishman, Yedioth) Next Lebanese soldier to 'go crazy' will not be seen by Israel as 'random incident.'
Crazy soldier syndrome (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Sunni groups involved in the fighting in Syria, some of which are identified with al-Qaida, may be seeking to drag Hezbollah into a confrontation with Israel
Netanyahu outs himself with sign language (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Anyone who hears the prime minister's words, sees the sign language and continues to believe that he's being told the truth, could reasonably claim schizophrenia.
Don't tax NGOs, name and shame them (Hezi Sternlicht, Israel Hayom) We need to do to the Europeans as they do to us, and label them. They label our products? We'll label their organizational activities.
Israel's left needs to drop self pity (Uzi Baram, Haaretz) The only alternative to a state that disregards all minorities is a sane left supported by the large segment of the population that is not locked into one worldview.
Bibi's boycott: Will 2014 be the year that Israel divorces the world? (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) Make no mistake. Whatever gains BDS scores this coming year, this will be Bibi's boycott, the only real achievement he can point to. This will be Israel's doing.
The 'refugee' diversion (Dr. Einat Wilf, Israel Hayom) It would behoove Israel to refrain from using the Palestinian term "refugees," with all its inherent connotations, and instead use the accurate term "descendants," which is not the same thing.
As Kerry waffles, other U.S. officials see an Assad victory as the least of evils (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Bashar Assad may believe that given the Syrian opposition's disintegration and the thaw between Tehran and Washington, the West may let him stay a while.


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