News Nosh 05.25.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday May 25, 2014

Quote of the day:
“The prosecution speaks loftily about how it protects the rights of minors, but its actions indicate that it isn’t willing to perform even the basic task of conducting an evaluation, which is mandatory in Israel.” 
--Attorney Nery Ramati, who represents many Palestinian teens, on the separate and unequal treatment between Jewish and Palestinian youth stone-throwers.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • 3 killed at Jewish museum
  • Today: Pope in Holyland
  • Princess in the President's residence - Carla Bruni, singer and model, is beautiful also in jeans without make-up. Arrived with husband, former French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, to perform
  • 17-year-old almost died from dieting pills
  • It's not easy being the daughter of Amir Peretz. Shani Peretz made a (children's) play about it
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
The killing of three people at the Jewish museum in Brussels, the preparations to prevent provocations by right-wing activists during the visit of Pope Francis, who arrives today and the statement by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he is mulling unilateral disengagement from the West Bank were top stories in today's Hebrew newspapers.
After five right-wing Jewish extremists were given restraining orders barring them from Jerusalem's Old City, where the Pope will visit, police issued orders against 10 more activists for fear they would commit 'price-tag' attacks, Yedioth reported. There was no fear that they would attempt to harm the pope, the police said. Some 8,500 police will secure the visit of the pope, in what is called, 'Operation White Robe 2.' Many will be posted at Christian sites to prevent right-wing activists from any disruptions that could embarrass Israel during this high-profile visit. Nevertheless, on Friday, vandals wrote "Jesus is a son of a bitch" on the wall surrounding a church in Beersheva. Also that day, two Jewish right-wing youth activists were caught by police hanging signs in the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in E. Jerusalem that read, "Christianity is cursed" and "Get out, you impure." Judge Shmuel Herbst released them accepting their lawyer's statements that "Theological arguments and disputes have always existed and they do not represent a danger to the public peace." And in Jerusalem, high-profile right-wing activists, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Michael Ben-Ari and Baruch Marzel, held a protest at the building on Mt. Zion, which is both believed to be where King David was buried and where the Last Supper was held. They held signs reading, "Get out, you impure," "Leave our holy land." Ultra-Orthodox and right-wing extremists oppose the alleged intention to transfer authority of the Last Supper room to the Vatican. The pope is planning on praying at the site tomorrow evening.
Maariv and Haaretz ran reports noting that the Pope called in Jordan "to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." In his speech he deviated from the text and said: "May God protect us from the fear of change." He also sent a message to Israeli President Shimon Peres via the pilot of his plane from Jordan, saying he looked forward to visiting the Holy Land.
Pope Francis arrives today first in the Palestinian Territories and Ynet ran a wire story telling how the Palestinian refugees are pinning their hopes on his visit and hoping it will call attention to their struggles. In Bethlehem’s historic Manger Square, the Pope will be greeted by huge renderings of classical European paintings of Biblical suffering, juxtaposed against contemporary photographs of Palestinian life., Maan reported.
In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg, Netanyahu said the idea of taking unilateral steps of withdrawal from the West Bank "is gaining ground" and it is being considered in light of the failed peace talks. Unsurprisingly, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the far right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party, expressed support on Facebook for Netanyahu's statements on unilateral action. The US, however, was not thrilled at all. State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf responded saying: "No one should take any steps that undermine trust, including unilateral." Haaretz+ reported that officials at the Prime Minister's Office say Netanyahu did not suggest evacuating Jewish settlements when he told Jeffrey Goldberg Israel is considering unilateral moves. In the interview, Netanyahu also blamed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the failure of the peace talks.

Quick Hits:
  • New CNN footage of Nakba Day killings fuels debate over deaths - Film by news network fails to show conclusively whether Israeli army used live fire; news photographers at incident confirm Palestinian version. (HaaretzCNN)
  • Israeli-Palestinian committee probes Beitunia shooting deaths - Palestinian official confirms that joint investigation into the deaths of two youths is underway. Palestinian official: We are prepared to dig the bodies out of their graves so tests can be performed to prove the two were killed by IDF fire. (Israel Hayom and Maariv
  • Military Police dragging their feet on probing 18 Palestinians killed by soldiers - Only one soldier charged but five verdicts expected soon. (Haaretz+)
  • **In Israel, a different fate for detained Palestinian youths - Military prosecutors push to lock up 'dangerous' Palestinian teens in the West Bank but oppose letting them be professionally evaluated. (Haaretz+)
  • (Arab) MK Tibi filed complaint: "Participants in 'Big Brother' reality show threatened my life" - In a conversation between participants Ahi Nathan and Eldad Gal-Ad, the two agreed that Tibi and (former Arab MK) Hanin Zouebi "need to be hung in the town square." Tibi submitted complaint to Knesset with a video clip of conversation. (Maariv)
  • 50 more Palestinian prisoners to join open hunger strike - The group of 50 prisoners urged the Palestinian people to support hunger striking prisoners so they can go on "with their real battles against Israel's racist policies of administrative detention, medical negligence, strip search, solitary confinement and deprivation of family visits," said the letter. (Maan)
  • Hunger strike in 5th week as activists call for pressure on Israel - Some 125 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike, many of whom are administrative detainees held without charge or trial. Most of the prisoners began their strike on April 24, demanding Israel change its detention policy. (Maan)
  • Israel Police arrests Thursday three youths over hate crimes in Arab town - Suspects, all learn at the same yeshiva high school in the settlement of Yitzhar. (Haaretz)
  • Fearing hate crime, Arab villagers attack three Haredi men - Three ultra-Orthodox men fled a Galilee village after being pelted with rocks and having their car set on fire. (Haaretz+)
  • Crops destroyed in night attack near outpost-adjacent village in south Hebron Hills - Farmers in the village of Qawawis reached their fields around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday morning to discover three tons of wheat burning on their property, close to the Israeli-only road 316 and the settler outpost of Mitzpe Yair, near Susiya. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces deny Nablus farmers access to fields to harvest wheat - Dozens of Palestinian farmers were on their way to harvest wheat in the area of Lafjan near the village of Aqraba when they were blocked by Israeli troops who said the area had been declared a closed military zone, and gave no further explanation. (Maan)
  • Bi-lingual Yad B'Yad School: Study hours allotted for Nakba Day - The Jerusalem school, where both Jews and Arabs learn, (also) commemorated establishment of state with stories about the Naqba from Palestinian lecturers some of whom are parents of students. "We feel proud to commemorate Nakba Day," they said. "You need to hear all sides." The evening event was one in a long series of community dialogue meetings with the participation of parents and teachers. (Ynet Jerusalem)
  • A contractor hung a Palestinian flag - and was suspended from work - The Jerusalem municipality suspended a subcontractor who deals with garbage disposal in the Old City, after in recent months he hung a Palestinian flag from his garbage-collecting tractor. (Ynet Jerusalem
  • US House approves $600 million military aid package for Israel - Legislation obligates the president to report to Congress every 3 months on Qualitative Military Edge issues for Israel, authorizes provisions for Iron Dome, David's Sling and Arrow 3. (Ynet)
  • Lapid: 'Mud-slinging between Finance, Defense Ministry needs to end' - Minister Yair Lapid tries to calm waters stirred by budget battle between defense establishment, Finance Ministry; 'We have nothing against the fighters - money is needed for education and health as well'. (Ynet and Haaretz+)
  • Plan to transfer funds from Jewish to Arab schools draws ire - Immediately after Education Minister Shay Piron (Yesh Atid) announces plan to transfer funds from religious-nationalist school system to Arab schools, Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) blocks the initiative. (Israel Hayom)
  • A not-so-great place in the middle: Israel in the bottom half of the global happiness index - Israel in 85th place with a score of 66. Paraguay in first place with a score of 87. Nine of the ten happiest countries in the world, according to the annual Gallup Institute survey, are in Latin America. Perhaps this is why Israelis are so fond of going there? (Maariv)
  • Israeli ambassador to Canada accuses Palestinian artist of 'glorifying terrorism’ with exhibition - Exhibition at Ottawa City Hall features terrorists involved in massacres in the 1970s and ’80s; the envoy's protest gives her the best PR she could hope for. (Haaretz+)
  • Poll: Majority of Palestinians prefer Marwan Barghouti for Palestinian president - When pitted against Abbas, Haniyeh or Mashaal, Barghouti emerged a favorite; 80.6 percent of respondents believe elections will be held within 6 months. (Ynet)
  • NATO conference hears IDF views on women in the military - Western nations seeking to integrate more women into militaries learn from IDF's success during NATO conference. (Ynet)
  • Comatose Marmara wounded dies, raising casualty number to ten - Ugur Suleyman Soylemez, 51, passes away after being in a coma for four years; news comes amid reports Turkey and Israel were about to finalize the terms of a formal settlement. (Ynet and Haaretz
  • DePaul students vote in favor of Israel divestment - The student government ballot initiative passed with 54.2 percent of the vote, with 45.8 against, The DePaulia student newspaper reported Friday. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Report: EU won't import poultry from settlements - The restriction on such imports is in line with a footnote within the EU Guidelines that went into effect in January, restricting business and trade with Israeli entities located in the West Bank. (Haaretz)
  • Synagogue demolished during 1948 war to be rebuilt - Jerusalem's Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue, destroyed by Jordanian bombing in the 1948 war, to be reconstructed by 2017. Housing Minister Uri Ariel pushes for reconstruction. Official announcement expected on Wednesday, Jerusalem Day. (Israel Hayom)
  • Golan Heights Druze want to vote for Assad: 'We're Syrians' - Israeli Druze send letter to UN asking to set up polling stations for Syrian presidential election in June. 'It's our right. Assad is the suitable leader', local resident says. (Ynet)
  • Jay Leno takes aim at Obama in Jerusalem awards ceremony - Least popular boys name in Israel? John Kerry, quips former talk show host while sparing Netanyahu. (Haaretz+)
  • Bloomberg: Genesis Prize money to help better the world - Former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to use $1 million prize, dubbed the "Jewish Nobel," to "advance the idea of tikkun olam."  Bloomberg plans competition to award money to up to 10 teams planning philanthropic projects "guided by Jewish values." (Israel Hayom)
  • Jordan releases two Israelis arrested for carrying large sums of cash - It is still unclear whether any further proceedings will be taken against them. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Hamas, Iran meet for first time in three years as unity deal nears - Palestinian media reports that a Hamas-Fatah government may be announced later this week. (Haaretz+)
  • IAEA: Iran sharply cutting nuclear stockpile - UN agency report shows Iran acted to reduce its stockpile of uranium gas by more than 80 percent; findings likely to be welcomed by the six powers trying to negotiate a long-term deal with Iran. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Iran: UN report proves nuclear ambitions are peaceful - Iran welcomes new report which claims nuclear activity decreasing, however past reports claimed Islamic republic growing better at hiding nuclear activities. (Agencies, Ynet)

Who are the Holy Land’s Christians?

Their numbers, where they live, what denominations they belong to, and what their relationship to Pope Francis is. (Haaretz+) 
Soccer, not Francis, inspires religious fervor in Galilee's Catholic villages
he upcoming World Cup is more likely to be the subject of conversation in two unique Arab towns than this weekend’s visit to Israel by the pope. (Haaretz+)
Holes in their backs (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz+) We have no choice but to wait for the findings of the investigation which is opening right away - and never closes. 
Pope's Mideast visit filled with precedents (Reuters, Ynet) By visiting Bethlehem before Jerusalem, Francis is giving PA the status of an actual state. Yet unlike his predecessors, he is visiting Herzl's grave in show of support for Zionism. 
Pope's visit: Great expectations, great disappointment? (Ariel David, Haaretz+) Israel's national and Jewish sites will get little facetime during Pope Francis' whirlwind visit - but the government is praying that the photo ops in Bethlehem don't lead to major political fallout.
Welcome and prod the pope (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Jews no longer need to scorn the church. But when he visits next week, the pope needs to speak more forthrightly about recognition and security for Israel.
In Israel, the pope is a pilgrim, not a politician (Yaakov Ahimeir, Haaretz+) Pope Francis will be visiting the region with a rabbi and a Muslim leader, but unfortunately, we will not hear from them.
The visit strengthens Israel (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) We do not yet know Pope Francis, but in an age of boycotts against Israel, it is in our interest that his visit is a resounding success. Hotheaded extremists must not be allowed to ruin it. 
I want to teach Jews I'm not their enemy (Hanadi Shaer, Ynet) Arab woman studying in Sderot says racism and discrimination have strengthened her determination to make a change.
The 'gentle’ voice of the army (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The aggressive soldier bullies with his gun, the enlightened one with orderly procedures and official exigencies.
The corruptors among us (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) Price-tag attacks don't achieve deterrence; they delegitimize the settlement enterprise. 
All the president’s yes-men (Amir Oren, Haaretz+) He or she may not have a vote in the cabinet, but the president must act as a counterweight to the haste of the prime minister and his closest allies.
A mixed city (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) In practice, Jerusalem has taken the shape of a bi-national city in recent years. Time will tell how this will impact a future political arrangement.
Why is EU meddling in Israel's internal affairs? (Guy Bechor, Yedioth/Ynet) Imagine what would happen if Israeli ambassadors instructed Scottish or Catalan people how to vote.
The Galilee at a crossroads (Emily Amrousi, Israel Hayom) Even those who are most committed to the Zionist cause are no longer talking about "Judaizing the Galilee."  The area which currently encompasses the Galilee speaks Arabic. The Jews are a minority. 
UK sees Holocaust remembrance as a sacred task (Matthew Gould, Yedioth/Ynet) British ambassador to Israel says his country has put itself at forefront of teaching children about Holocaust in post-survivor age.
All dressed up with nowhere to go (Ruthie Blum, Haaretz+) Without the "peace process," Tzipi Livni is completely irrelevant.
Bring transparency to the Jewish National Fund (Haaretz Editorial) The case of the Jewish National Fund proves just how important transparency is for organizations that trade in public resources.
A Palestinian state -- not a priority (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) Arab/Muslim policy makers have never considered the Palestinian issue a strategic interest, only a means of advancing their interests and annihilating Israel.

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