Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel’s Supreme Court gave a green light to the prisoner release after rejecting a legal appeal from families of the terror victims. As the Israel Daily News Stream went to press, the Palestinians are expected to be released tonight.
2. Sinai jihadis took credit for firing a rocket at Eilat which was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome. Jerusalem Post coverage.
3. Hassan Rohani appointed Iran’s first female vice president. Rohani’s political opponents are grumbling that all his appointees are Western educated. See Times of Israel/AP coverage.
4. LA Times to Israel: “Tossing Democracy Out the Window is Not the Solution”: A poorly thought-out staff-ed confuses a survey result with government policy.
5. New York Times’ Weak Response to ‘Stone Thrower’ Article: Editors think a dispatch glorifying teenage stone-throwers “provided a thoughtful, memorable and detailed look that many readers found enlightening.”
Israel and the Palestinians
• Settlement freeze and Jerusalem housing? Nadav Shragai crunches some numbers.
• The BBC listed the prisoners due to be released along with descriptions of the blood on their hands.
• “Covert hasbara” ain’t covert anymore.
The Israeli decision to release the prisoners was shortly followed by the approval of additional construction permits for housing in East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements. The move elicited howls of condemnation from the usual suspects, as if building houses is more objectionable than murdering people in cold blood. Perhaps the larger question is why anyone should expect that a peace process that begins by setting murderers free is likely to result in peace.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Reuters looks at Egypt’s drastic cut on the number of Palestinians entering from Gaza.
An Egyptian official said the curbs were “not a punishment” for Hamas’s Islamist leanings but an effort to reduce civilian traffic as Egypt has stepped up military operations against Islamist militants in the Sinai region bordering Gaza.
• Lebanese president Michel Sleiman’s making Hezbollah uncomfortable, according to the Daily Star:
President Michel Sleiman called on Hezbollah Monday to avoid intervening in Syria, saying the resources of the resistance belonged to all the Lebanese.
“The national capabilities, which are the army, the state and the resistance, do not belong to a faction or sect,” said Sleiman. “They belong to the nation and cannot be biased, and the nation must decide how to use these capabilities.”
Sleiman said the resources of the resistance should be placed under the control of the Lebanese state.
• There goes the neighborhood: Al-Qaeda expands in Syria.
• Worth reading: The Guardian‘s Matthew Kalman looks at the IDF’s Unit 8200.
Similar to Britain’s GCHQ, Unit 8200 manages Israel’s army signals intelligence, sucking in and analysing vast amounts of electronic data, from wiretapped phone calls and emails to microwave and satellite broadcasts. On the new hi-tech battlefield, 8200 is now the largest unit in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).
Demobbed geeks once overshadowed by gun-toting commandos have made the most of their expertise in cybersecurity, data storage, mobile communications and analytical algorithms to help transform the basis of Israel’s economy from orange groves to mobile-phone apps. Israeli inventions include instant messaging, the USB memory stick, the firewall and the secure data links that enable most of the world’s banking transactions and TV signal decoders.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.