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Today’s Top Stories
*** Breaking news *** As this roundup went to press, Israeli announced it shot down a drone — presumably sent by Hezbollah — off the coast of Haifa. See Jerusalem Post, YNet, and Daily Star coverage of this unfolding story.
1. Israeli diplomacy may grind to a halt if Israeli foreign ministry employees make good on threats to go on strike. Thanks to budget cuts and coalition politics, the MFA’s one holy mess, according to the Times of Israel. A strike would imperil visits by foreign dignitaries and Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to China:
The diplomats are fighting for more pay and better working conditions, and against the fact that in the current government some of the Foreign Ministry’s key roles have been handed to other government institutions. The mood among many in the ministry is bitter and frustrated, and diplomats warn that the correct handling of many central aspects of Israel’s international relations is being severely undermined . . .
Israeli civilians, too, may be affected if the workers’ union launches an all-out strike, since it could suspend consular services in Israeli missions across the globe.
2. Indian politicians honored a journalist charged for his role in the 2010 attack on the Israeli embassy in New Delhi. They came to meet and greet Syed Mohammed Kazmi and celebrate the launch of newspaper where he serves as editor in chief. Haaretz writes:
Kazmi was the only one arrested because the other members of the Iranian terror cell succeeded in fleeing the country within 24 hours of the blast. Kazmi was jailed for several months and released on bail this past October, despite Israel’s protests. Indian authorities claimed that under local laws, they could not hold Kazmi in custody until the end of legal proceedings. Kazmi’s trial is proceeding slowly, to Israel’s frustration.
3. Israeli released details on the death of Ben Zygier, a.k.a. Prisoner X. Israel HaYom had clearest coverage of details:
Zygier killed himself after a devastating visit from his wife.
In a nutshell: no indication of foul play; prison service rapped for contributing failures.
4. Media Overplays Airport Security Issue: Why did an Israeli legal ruling lead to overstated, misleading headlines around the world?
Israel and the Palestinians
• So the new director of BBC News, James Harding, is Jewish and pro-Israel? Yaakov Ahimeir puts it in perspective:
No one should expect the newly appointed head of the BBC’s news department to rally the entire news team to the Zionist cause. However, he should be expected to instill in reporters an ethical framework that will provide consumers, Jews and non-Jews, with a truthful dose of fair news coverage. This is Harding’s litmus test. In the meantime, he deserves the best of luck ahead of the nearly impossible mission he’s been given.
• Haaretz: John Kerry is trying to corral Mahmoud Abbas, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordan’s King Abdullah for a June peace summit with Barack Obama. Kerry’s also mulling Turkish and Egyptian participation.
The Administration, according to the sources, has yet to decide whether it will convene the summit in any case, or only if Kerry achieves a breakthrough that will allow a resumption of peace talks.
• Dutch diplomat: Drafts of EU’s settlement labeling laws have tacit American approval. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• PA concessions not to drag Israel before the International Criminal Court are bogus and empty, argues Eugene Kontorovich at the National Review Online.
- Ban Ki-moon scolds Richard Falk.
- Why is an Iranian presidential candidate really blasting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial?
- Internal EU report skewers Catherine Ashton.