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Media Roundup

  • Oct 31: Was it the last Rabin memorial rally?

    The daily Hebrew media roundup: Haaretz's Tzvi Barel points to the similarities between Israel and the South African Apartheid Headlines: Bombs away > All four major dailies are leading with the Al-Qaeda mail bombing plots, presenting a pretty identical viewpoint in headlines and commentary. Haaretz's chief intelligence analyst Yossi Melman sounds impressed, with a commentary titled "Simple and Daring"; Maariv columnist and Channel 10 foreign affairs editor Nadav Eyal gives thumbs up to Obama's reaction to the alert, in a column titled "A president and a commander." Yedioth confines itself to charting out various details of the plot, and Yisrael…

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  • Oct 29-30: Netanyahu calls on Palestinians to forgo unilateral moves

    The Headlines: Unilateralism > Palestinian President Abbas has raised the possibility of asking the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state, if negotiations with Israel are stalled. In response, Netanyahu called for avoiding unilateral moves. He did not mean to include, of course, settlement construction that changes facts on the ground. Two prominent Jewish Americans, considered close to Obama, visited [Heb] Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and urged Netanyahu to proceed with negotiations. In the background, the administration is increasingly frustrated by Israel’s policy. > The German mediator, working on a deal between Hamas and Israel to secure the…

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  • Oct 28: A Vote for Segregated Communities

    The Headlines: Jim Crow > The Knesset’s constitution committee voted today to proceed with a final vote on a bill, which would allow small localities to establish “acceptance committees” to screen people who wish to live in that locality. Despite the law’s insistence that discrimination would not be allowed, the vague and broad criteria it permits (lack of suitability to the social and cultural fabric, or social life in the community) make its intention clear. Acceptance committees in Israel are a tool for discrimination, mainly against Arabs who wish to reside in Jewish localities. The few Arabs who have tried…

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  • Oct 27: Chaos in Israel’s security establishment

    The Headlines: Bad Fences > A senior government official is accusing [Heb] the Defense Ministry of refusing to comply with a government decision to build a fence between Israel and Egypt. The official further alleged that the Ministry channeled funds allocated for this purpose, to pay salaries, and refused to allow any other government authority to review the fence’s routes. The fence is meant to stop the entrance to Israel of asylum seekers, fleeing massacres and persecutions in Darfur, Eritrea and Cote d’Ivoire. Their entry is often depicted as a “flood” (Ma’ariv), despite the fact that the numbers are negligible…

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  • The political line of Israeli papers (a reader's guide)

    Who leans to the left and who moves to the right? which paper supports Netanyahu and who goes after him? a short guide to the subtleties of the Hebrew press Newspapers in Israel have always been of great importance. One of the first things early Zionists did in Palestine was to create their own Hebrew papers. Every major political faction had its own publication, usually a national daily. Even today, with the decline of printed journalism, papers are still widely read, especially among opinion makers. The Hebrew papers raise issues and frame political questions; Knesset members often quote news items…

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  • 26 October: one more settlement freeze?

      The Headlines: Freeze the Settlements, or Freeze the Peace Process? > According to reports, Netanyahu is planning [Heb] a comprehensive settlement freeze for three months, to be followed by nine months of restrained construction. This will take place while negotiations with the Palestinians move forward, and might require adding opposition party Kadima to the current coalition. Senior government ministers will discuss tomorrow the outlook for the Obama administration’s policy after the mid-term elections next week. Foreign Minister Lieberman (Yisrael Beitenu) is already preparing for the day negotiations fail, and the Palestinians will make a unilateral declaration of independence. He…

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  • 25 October: a prodigal journalist returns home

    The Headlines: Inaction Inertia > The government threw its support behind a bill that would enshrine Jerusalem’s status as a national priority area, ensuring the city continues to receive special budgetary support. The decision applies to all parts of the city as claimed by Israel, including territory which is considered occupied under international. This may create an international problem for the government. > Netanyahu’s solution to the severe controversy over benefits to yeshiva students was typical: form a committee, gain two weeks. I have another suggestion: a benefit “freeze”, which much like the vaunted settlement “freeze”, will be a hollow…

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  • Oct 24: The Iraq leak – an insurance policy for Israel?

     The Headlines: An Ugly Fight over Benefits to Yeshiva Students > The governing coalition is split on the issue of social benefits for Yeshiva students. The ultra-orthodox parties demand their continuation, despite a Supreme Court ruling to the contrary. Other ministers, including in Likud, are strongly opposed. Attempts to include university students in the bill have not taken off, because the criteria (three children, no apartment, no car, no other income) are clearly tailored for the ultra-orthodox community. This blatant discrimination is outrageous, but so is calling an entire community ‘parasites’ and ‘thieves’ on the front page of a national…

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  • Oct 22-23: Foreign donors funded 98% of Netanyahu’s campaign

    The Headlines: Brutal and Incompetent > The mess over the illegal migrant worker employed by the wife of Defense Minister Barak (Labor) is not going away. The Attorney General turned down her request to pay an administrative fine, and is considering an indictment. The immigration police is scouring the country looking for the worker, while she leisurely interviews for one media organ after another. This is yet more evidence that the immigration police, supposedly set up to deal with illegal migrant workers, is in fact an incompetent, wasteful and vicious body, based on racial-profiling and terrorizing innocents, while victims of…

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  • Oct 21: Barak attacks Netanyahu on Peace Process

    The Headlines: Most Palestinian are (still) Willing to Recognize a Jewish State >Surveys continue to show that a (diminishing) plurality of Palestinians is willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state if all other outstanding issues are resolved (Yedioth). > Defense Minister Barak (Labor) criticized Netanyahu, for not pushing forward the negotiations with the Palestinians (Yedioth). Barak is quoted on the front page of Yedioth claiming Israeli shouldn't insist that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state now. "We don't need an aggressive Churchill now, we need De-Gaulle," said Baak, refering to the French president who ended the war…

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  • Oct 20: Loyalty Oath might not pass in Knesset

    The Headlines: What does Rabin’s Murder Mean? > Israel commemorates Prime Minister Rabin, assassinated in 1995 by an extreme right-winger, because of his involvement in the Oslo accords with the Palestinians. But what should we do on this of remembrance: recite Rabin’s individual life story? Condemn political violence in general? Should we critically examine the ideology that led to his murder, or is that too partisan? > The crime wave in Lod continues, despite a virtual military occupation of the mixed Arab-Jewish city. The Sidelines: Palestinian Land > The Supreme Court is enraged at the government, for the constant delays…

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  • Oct 19: Netanyahu: Loyalty for Jews as well

      The Headlines: Jews will have to take loyalty oath > Netanyahu has decided that the proposed loyalty oath for naturalized citizens, to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic” state, will also apply to Jewish immigrants. Previously, the proposal was intended for non-Jews only. This revision seems unlikely to sway opponents, while perhaps producing new types of resistance (from ultra-orthodox parties). > Israel will commemorate today Prime Minister Rabin, assassinated in 1995 by an extreme right-winger, because of his involvement in the Oslo accords with the Palestinians. 15 years later, few young Israelis remember the circumstances (Yedioth) and some in…

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  • Oct 18: Arab poverty on the rise, Barak's problems

    The Headlines: Guilt and Innocence > The State Attorney has decided not to retroactively acquit Margalit Harshefi, who was convicted for knowing in advance about the intention to assassinate Prime Minister Rabin in 1995, and doing nothing to stop it. Influential columnist Nahum Barnea suggests reopening the whole issue: what was the role of hard-right leaders and rabbis in the incitement that preceded the murder? (Yedioth) > Pressure is mounting to reopen the investigation against Defense Minister Barak (Labor) for employing an illegal migrant. The case was closed, supposedly because the migrant could not be found. However, yesterday, she was…

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