News Nosh 01.27.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday January 27, 2014

Quote of the day:
"Those who see anti-Semitism in the criticism being leveled on Israel because of its settlement policy undermine the battle against anti-Semitism."
--Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni slams the Israeli government and the Canadian Prime Minister's stance on anti-Semitism and settlers.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Israel Hayom

Peace Talk Highlights:
Todays' top story was the accusation by pro-settler Economy Minister that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "had lost his sense of values" after an unnamed official from his office suggested that settlers stay in their homes under Palestinian sovereignty. Meanwhile, only Haaretz and Israel Hayom reported that a ministerial vote on a bill to give outlying and small communities tax breaks was postponed after Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator called for the exclusion of isolated settlements, sparking a storm in the cabinet meeting. Livni also slammed the government - and possibly Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper - for conflating criticism on settlements with anti-Semitism.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement published yesterday that he would not evict a single Israeli from the West Bank becomes clearer following the statement by an unnamed official in his office published today that West Bank settlers should have the right to remain in their homes under the sovereignty of a future Palestinian state after a peace deal. The idea was that Israel would not be evicting the settlers, but it would be the Palestinians who would be rejecting the idea. Israel Hayom and Yedioth wrote that it may have just been a trial balloon, rather than a statement of intent, but nevertheless it enraged the right-wing.
Habayit Hayehudi leader and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett got the front page by making an unprecedented attack on Netanyahu, saying he "lost his sense of values." Army Radio quoted Prime Minister's Office officials as saying, "For the sake of a one-minute headline, [Bennett] hurt Netanyahu's effort to prove to the international community that the true peace rejectionist is the Palestinian Authority."
Indeed, high-ranking Palestinian Authority officials and Israeli leftists rejected the idea. "Anyone who says he wants to keep settlers in the Palestinian state is actually saying that he doesn't want a Palestinian state," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said noting that settlements and the presence of settlers are illegal. Ynet interviewed settlers who said they would not mind living in a future Palestinian state. "That will be the solution in the end," said a resident of the settlement of Efrat. Yedioth interviewed Shlomo and Nechama Abrahamson, from Naveh Daniel settlement in Gush Etzion settlement bloc, who said, "Bibi is a PR person who does tricks in order to embarrass his opponent. This sounds like another trick meant to reveal the hypocracy of the Palestinians."
Meanwhile, Livni fought two top right-wing ministers, Bennett and Yesh Atid Chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, at the Sunday cabinet meeting over tax breaks for isolated settlements. Lapid raised a bill that would give small and outlying communities tax breaks based on where they lived. Livni attacked the would-be bill because it included 35 isolated settlements. "It is time we start telling the truth: those who insist on building more isolated settlements are those who play into the hands of anti-Israeli boycotters; those who seek a peace deal are those who want to check the boycott and counter its adverse effect on the Israeli economy," Livni said. However, Lapid was adamant to conduct the vote. In the end Livni won and it was postponed.

** Livni also slammed the government's response to a recent report on anti-Semitism. "...Those who see anti-Semitism in the criticism being leveled on Israel because of its settlement policy undermine the battle against anti-Semitism; they drive a wedge between us and our allies. We are talking about allies that are accused of abetting anti-Semitism simply because they are critical of the settlements. Those who seek to torpedo a peace deal have resorted to attacking the criticism on Israel, saying it is driven by anti-Semitic views. What about the criticism on a government decision to let isolated settlements get tax breaks? Is that criticism also based on anti-Semitism? No. That criticism centers on a decision to settle in communities which, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, are not considered Israeli territory."

Quick Hits:
  • Settlers attack Palestinian farmers in Beit Ummar - Settlers wearing masks and white uniforms, some carrying guns, threw stones at farmers and swore at them both in Arabic and Hebrew. Israeli troops arrived to protect the attackers, said a spokesman for the local committee against settlement activities. (Maan)
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jews hurl stones at Palestinian vehicles in Jerusalem - About 60 ultra-Orthodox Jewish men hurled rocks at vehicles driven by Palestinians with Israeli registration plates and assaulted a bicyclist before stealing his bike. One victim said attackers hurled stones from balconies, windows and the road itself. A group of Israeli troops and police horsemen arrived on the scene, but merely watched the assailants and did not intervene. (Maan)
  • Two East Jerusalem Palestinians made 'illegal’ by Interior Ministry win reprieve in court - For years, Amir Salima and Mohammed Nabulsi have not been able to work, travel, obtain medical insurance or otherwise live normal lives. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Defense Ministry computer hacked via tainted email - Malicious email masquerading as Shin Bet message leads to internal breach in Israeli defense computer, cyber firm reports. Palestinians considered main, usual suspects. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel eases ban on building material imports to Gaza - Defense minister allows transfer of materials to repair buildings damaged in December storm and UN projects. (Haaretz+)
  • Havoc for Gaza strawberry growers amid storms and siege - Most of the strawberry growers here plant the seeds early hoping to benefit from the better-paying European market. However, Israel's export restrictions have compounded the burden on Gaza strawberry farmers during the current season. (Maan
  • Electricity for unrecognized Arab neighborhoods in Lod - Thousands (of Arab citizens) use power lines drawn from other houses, endangering lives, because the municipality refuses to recognize the neighborhoods they live in as residential. Cooperation between the mayor and the opposition put an end to the sorry state. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
  • Indictments reveal Hamas in social battle to take over East Jerusalem - Court files show how terrorist organization seduces weak population with food for holidays, summer camps in order to 'fortify its hold' on Arab Israeli region, like Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. (Yedioth, p. 9/Ynet
  • Supreme Court okays highway bisecting Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem - Court rejects residents' appeal of district court decision. (Haaretz+)
  • New: Police attempt to integrate Bedouin in police forces -  Course will take two months, during which young Bedouin candidates will learn Hebrew and get training in various fields. One of the students: "Until today I did not succeed in getting accepted to the police and now will have an opportunity." (Maariv, p. 13/NRG Hebrew
  • Education minister rebuffs criticism over 'leftist’ teacher - Piron 'not pleased’ with how schoolteacher was threatened with dismissal for airing his political views in class. (Haaretz+) 
  • Anat Kamm released after two years in jail - Good behavior earns ex-Israeli soldier, who leaked confidential files to Haaretz, early release. (Haaretz)
  • And now Bennett against Lapid: "We are not a dictatorship like Yesh Atid or Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beytenu party" - Chairmen of Habayit Hayehudi and Yesh Atid continue to exchange barbs. The cabinet postponed decision that would have given some 250 Israeli communities tax breaks - because among them were settlements. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli teen stumbles upon secret Syrian war documents -- from 1967 - In a hike at an abandoned Syrian military outpost in south Golan Heights, Ido Dado, 13, discovered a Syrian officer's diaries, which end shortly before the start of the Six Day War of 1967. In the pages: How to protect oneself from an Israeli nuclear attack. "I hope there is peace so that I can give it back to the Syrian officer it belonged to," he says. (Israel Hayom and Yedioth, p. 22)
  • 'Netanyahu's son follows his heart - into Norwegian arms' - Norwegian newspaper reports Yair Netanyahu is dating a Norwegian national studying in Israel. (Haaretz
  • Report: More than 1,000 Holocaust survivors die every month - The average age of Holocaust victims has reached 85, and one third are in need of financial assistance, the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel reports. More than half of Holocaust survivors live on less than $900 a month. (Israel Hayom)
  • At Davos, Israeli central bank chief stresses poor Haredim, Israeli Arabs - Karnit Flug notes that both ultra-Orthodox and Arabs have large families and low workforce-participation rates, particularly Arab women and ultra-Orthodox men. She said the situation needed to be changed through education and jobs that meet the needs of the Haredi and Arab communities. (Haaretz+) 
  • After Davos, foreign tech firms head to Israel - Netanyahu says Google, Yahoo and others were mainly interested in local cybersecurity. (Haaretz+)
  • Arab-Americans criticize bill to do away with visas for Israelis - The bill, which critics say is discriminatory, will be debated by a House committee this week. (Haaretz+)
  • Lebanon astir after local channel allowed onto Israeli Air Force base - LBC, a Lebanese news channel, was allowed to film on an IAF base in a bid to send Hezbollah a message, and the reactions were quick to come, with everyone from Hezbollah to regulators claiming report enemy propaganda. (Ynet)
  • Tunisia approves new constitution, appoints government - New constitution is one last step to full democracy, three years after revolution. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Chilean soccer team fined for 'Palestine shirt' - Disciplinary tribunal orders Palestino club to pay $441 for each of games it used shirt numbers in which figure one is designed to look like map before creation of Israel. (Agencies, Ynet
  • International Elders in Tehran to 'advance openness and dialogue' - Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu and other prominent former diplomats want to exchange ideas about peaceful ways of addressing conflict and healing sectarian divisions. (Haaretz+)

Which Zionism does the Shin Bet subscribe to? (Haaretz Editorial) The security agency must return to its job description rather than dealing with the enforcement of 'Zionist values.' 
Netanyahu may have basked in Canada's sunshine, but storm clouds are gathering (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The warm embrace given by 'Canada’s first Zionist prime minister' only underlined Israel’s emerging isolation, the cold wind that’s starting to blow this way from the West. 
We're staying home (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth) Shiffer refers to reports that sources in the Prime Minister's Office have suggested that settlers in outlying communities who refuse to be evacuated could live in a future Palestinian state and writes: "I suggest that Israelis who have settled outside the major settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria can relax; the idea that they would remain under Palestinian rule in the framework of a permanent agreement is no less delusional than the idea that an Israeli government would agree to partition Jerusalem...Truthfully, if there is any chance of an agreement, it will require the evacuation of tens of thousands of settlers, which Netanyahu does not consider given his worldview, the lessons that were learned from the evacuation of Gush Katif and concerns over civil war among Israelis."
The missing Arab in high-tech (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) Today the unseen people of the 1950s are the hope of the Israeli economy. Without them, in Silicon Valley they will look for high-tech workers in India. 
The Left's Pavlovian conditioning (Gili Haskin, Ynet) Why are leftists, who are willing to evict tens of thousands of Jews from their homes, so opposed to a land swap which will leave people on their lands at the cost of changing their citizenship?
An electoral threshold too high (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) Israel’s electoral system has enabled the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox - to participate in the parliamentary arena. Probably all will agree that this is essential for Israel’s democracy. 
We are not a toy in the playground of a failed minister (Samaria settler council chairman Gershon Mesika, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Anyone who thinks that the uprooting of Gush Katif was a nightmare should know: evacuation of settlements outside the settlement blocs will bring about the total dismantling of the State of Israel.
A new, improved Jordanian option (Reuven Pedatzur, Haaretz+) 'You have to understand that the progressive forces in the Arab world, those that support having a visible relationship with Israel, cannot reach out to it until the Palestinian problem is resolved,' said one Jordanian official. 
My mentor, my inspiration (MK Zehava Gal-On, Israel Hayom) For many of us, Shulamit Aloni represented the most authentic declaration of independence.
Why the self-defeating secrecy, AIPAC and de Blasio? (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) Pro-Israel advocacy should be done up front and in the light of day, rather than at closed events that give off a harmful and conspiratorial air. 
BDS network infiltrating Holland (Emily Ziedman, Ynet) Will the Dutch government rise to prevent political warfare against Israel?
The future of yesterday: Avraham Burg on Ari Shavit's new book (Avraham Burg, Haaretz+) The Haaretz writer's very personal book on Zionism is a tale that begins with high hopes and ends under an immense question mark.
Is Sayed Kashua a freedom fighter or a drunken idiot? (Sayed Kashua, Haaretz+) 'At long last,' the lawyer said. 'I’ve been reading you for the past 10 years and asking myself when that son of a gun would finally be caught.'
A visit to Auschwitz (Ban Ki-moon, Yedioth/Ynet) In special article for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, UN secretary-general says world can and must do more to eliminate poison that led to Nazi death camps.
Between a ruthless dictator and global jihad, Israel, U.S. prefer Assad (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Even if Israel is not saying so explicitly, if forced to choose, it would probably prefer Assad to the arrival of tens of thousands of Global Jihad fighters on the Syrian side of the border.
Cacophony of voices (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Even if things fail to move forward by the end of April, Israel, the U.S. and Europe could still strike an internationally recognized interim deal among themselves.
Who is 'righteous' enough for Yad Vashem? (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+) Why has Israel's national Holocaust memorial authority set such a high bar for recognizing the bravery of non-Jewish rescuers during the Holocaust?

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