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
Setad has become one of the most powerful organizations in Iran, though many Iranians, and the wider world, know very little about it. In the past six years, it has morphed into a business juggernaut that now holds stakes in nearly every sector of Iranian industry, including finance, oil, telecommunications, the production of birth-control pills and even ostrich farming . . .
Through Setad, Khamenei has at his disposal financial resources whose value rivals the holdings of the shah, the Western-backed monarch who was overthrown in 1979.
How Setad came into those assets also mirrors how the deposed monarchy obtained much of its fortune – by confiscating real estate. A six-month Reuters investigation has found that Setad built its empire on the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to ordinary Iranians: members of religious minorities like Vahdat-e-Hagh, who is Baha’i, as well as Shi’ite Muslims, business people and Iranians living abroad.
2. Investigative journalist Edwin Black lays bare the inner workings of PA stipends to terrorists imprisoned in Israel. Bottom line: Western aid money is subsidizing terror. Israelis have known about these payments for years, but Black reveals new details.
Under a sliding scale, carefully articulated in the law of the prisoner, the more serious the act of terrorism, the longer the prison sentence, and consequently, the higher the salary. Incarceration for up to three years fetches a salary of almost $400 per month. Prisoners behind bars for between three and five years will be paid about $560 monthly – a compensation level already higher than that for many ordinary West Bank jobs. Sentences of ten to 15 years fetch salaries of about $1,690 per month. Still worse acts of terrorism against civilians, punished with sentences between 15 and 20 years, earn almost $2,000 per month.
These are the best salaries in the Palestinian territories. The Arabic word ratib, meaning “salary”, is the official term for this compensation. The law ensures the greatest financial reward for the most egregious acts of terrorism . . .
About 6% of the Palestinian budget is diverted to prisoner salaries. All this money comes from so-called “donor countries” such as the United States, Great Britain, Norway, and Denmark.
3. Israel’s rapid response team arrived in the typhoon-stricken Philippines. YNet updates its progress, and talked to other Israelis on the scene. An estimated 10,000 people were killed and 5 million left homeless when Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippine islands. Four Israelis unaccounted for are believed to be stranded in areas where communications are cut down. According to the Christian Science Monitor some two million Filipinos work as caregivers and laborers in the Mideast, including 31,000 in Israel, and they’re desperate to make contact with loved ones back home:
Even for those whose families are safe, the destruction of their homes represents years of hard-earned remittances washed away in a moment.
4. New York Times Gets Hysterical Over Netanyahu: The Gray Lady dismisses Prime Minister of “hysterical” opposition to Iranian nuclear deal.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Will Israel risk diplomatic friction with China over a US lawsuit brought by victims of Palestinian terror? AP reports:
Netanyahu’s government must decide whether to allow a former Israeli security official to testify as a star witness who could tip the scales in the case, filed by families of victims of suicide bombers who accuse the Bank of China of facilitating terrorist funding via accounts in the U.S.
Critics say that after initially encouraging the claims against the bank, Israel is now having second thoughts, fearing it could jeopardize valuable trade ties with China if it allows the former official, who is sworn to secrecy, to testify.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times (click via Google News) reports that the terror victims found another potential key witness from the US Treasury Dept. via Wikileaks. And the NY Times looks at Israel-China ties.
• Gaza’s expected Tamarod protests fizzled yesterday. Why that happened depends on who you believe, reports the Times of Israel.
- Freedom of expression takes a hit in the West Bank.
- What’s the best argument against boycotting Israeli academia?
- Is Assad trying to hide some chemical weapons?