Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

+972 Stream

Several protest groups (Hama’abarah, Not Nice and others) are planning the first rally in front of the house of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, due to take place this Saturday evening. The protesters demand canceling some of the planned measures in the next budget, such as an increase of the VAT and cuts in social services. Instead, they ask to raise taxes on the high income earners and cancel various tax breaks for corporations.

Facebook event here (Hebrew)

“Cash Rules Everything Around Me; C.R.E.A.M., Get the money; Dolla dolla bills y’all.”

The Wu-Tang Clan may not have been writing about Israeli-Turkish relations when they wrote “C.R.E.A.M.“, but it most certainly applies.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz declared Tuesday that Israel’s massive natural gas find, which began flowing over the weekend, is not feasible for export unless it goes through Anatolia.

There is no other way to seriously understand the repair of ties between the two countries that began late last month than through the lens of the gas. I recommend reading Joseph Dana’s report in The National last week for a better understanding.

The Israeli Air Force attacked Gaza last night for the first time since November – according to the media, in response to mortar shells that were fired at Israel. This morning two rockets were fired from Gaza; they exploded near Sderot. More: Haaretz, Ynet News.

Haaretz is also reporting that Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive this weekend for talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders. It will be the second time in two weeks that Kerry has traveled to Jerusalem.

Apparently, Israelis are really happy – and they know it. Either that, or they’re lying. Haaretz reports today that “Israelis are among the most content people in the Western World, even though the country doesn’t measure up to many other criteria“.

The Haaretz reporter doesn’t get it either: “It’s not clear why Israelis are so happy, despite a relatively poor showing on measures such as housing, income, job security, community support and education. It could be that what makes the average Norwegian happy doesn’t do the trick in Israel. Or maybe Israelis try to appear happy even when they’re not and respond to pollsters accordingly.”

Ah, that might be it. The good ‘ole “frier” syndrome, which probably made many respondents think “I ain’t gonna let those OECD people know how bad I got it.”

But then again, who knows? Maybe there’s something in the water.

Yesh Atid leader and the new star of Israeli politics, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, published yesterday a Facebook post describing a conversation he had with the staff at the Finance Ministry. Lapid spoke of an (imagined?) middle class woman named Ricki Cohen from Hadera, who is having troubles making ends meet; “she is the reason I took this job,”‘ he ended.

Yet as thousands of comments on his Facebook wall pointed our, most Israelis would have been only too happy to step into the shoes of Cohen, whose household enjoys an income that is almost twice the Israeli average. Yent News has more on the story, which looks a bit like Mitt Romeny’s famous “middle income” gaff.

In late February, settlers from the illegal outpost of Esh Kodesh allegedly shot a 26-year-old Palestinian man, Helmi Abdul Azeez, from the West Bank village of Qusra. This morning, Israeli police raided Esh Kodesh, arrested five settlers and seized an assortment of firearms. Israeli media reported the arrests were connected to the shooting.

A settler (in white) pointing a gun at Palestinians on the plantations of Qusra, February 23 2013 (photo: Saad Al-Wadi)

Israel appeared to be very worried at the time that if Abdul Azeez were to die, it could spark widespread violence in the West Bank. Israel even launched a secret extraction in order to transfer him from a hospital in Nablus for treatment in Israel. (Channel 2 report in Hebrew)

Read Noam Sheizaf’s report on the shooting here.