Arab to deliver Hebrew TV news
Lucy Aharish, an Israeli Arab graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who also underwent broadcast training in Germany, was hired recently by Channel 10 television as a news anchor. Aharish, 25, told Ma'ariv in an interview Monday that although she has experienced racism in Israel, she believes Arabs can overcome such challenges and succeed. Having barely survived an attack on her family car when she visited Gaza as a child, she also voiced disinterest in the Palestinians.
Aharish is the fourth generation of a Muslim family from Nazareth, but spent most of her life in the southern town of Dimona, where she celebrated Jewish festivals and served in Gadna, Israel's paramilitary youth training program. "There is no doubt that the different experiences that I underwent caused an identity crisis, which developed for years," she said. "But the truth is that I don't regret for a moment that my parents raised me in a Jewish environment. They gave me the privilege to stand in the middle of the road and look at the whole picture. I am grateful for this."
Livni: Hamas smells E.U. accommodation
Israel's foreign minister accused Hamas of seeking to weaken the European stand on the Palestinian Authority's policies. Tzipi Livni said during a visit to Canada late Monday that the governing P.A. faction, which has rejected Western demands that it moderate its views on Israel, hopes the European Union will accommodate its intransigence.
"Hamas is looking at Europe, and they want to see this kind of hesitation," Livni told reporters. "When they sense this smell of hesitation, why should they change in the future?"
The European Union last week called on the new coalition government being formed by Hamas and the moderate faction Fatah to set a diplomatic platform that "reflects" the international community's preconditions that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and accept past rapprochement efforts. Livni said this did not signify a change in the European attitude toward Hamas.
"If somebody thinks that Hamas, while not recognizing Israel, while using terror -- not to create a Palestinian state but to demolish the Jewish one -- can be partners to something, they are wrong," Livni said.
Hamas reaffirms goal to 'liberate Palestine'
"We will not betray promises we made to God to continue the path of Jihad and resistance until the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine," the governing Palestinian Authority faction said in a statement Monday.
The move, which could complicate Palestinian efforts to lift a Western aid embargo on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, came in reaction to a rare criticism of Hamas by al-Qaida's deputy commander Ayman Zawahri. In a statement Sunday, Zawahri denounced Hamas for agreeing to share power with the more moderate Palestinian faction Fatah, calling this capitulation to Israel and the West. "Zawahri's recent statements were wrong," the Hamas statement said. "Resistance is our strategy. How and when? This depends on the reality at the time and our corresponding view of things."
Ancient Jewish neighborhood discovered in Jerusalem
A network of Second Temple-era streets, homes and ritual mikvah baths were found recently in Jerusalem's Arab district of Shuafat when municipal workers laid tracks for a light railway, Ma'ariv reported Tuesday. The Antiquities Authority estimated that the finds, which currently spread over an area of some 100 acres, date to a period after the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. Evidence suggests the neighborhood was affluent and religiously observant.
"In the digs, many stone tools and caches of coins were discovered, including a rare gold coin with the image of the Emperor Trajan," Antiquities Authority official Rahel Bar-Natan said.
Barnea to get Israel Prize
The Israel Prize Committee announced Tuesday that it would honor Yediot Achronot's top political pundit, Nahum Barnea, for his career in journalism at this year's Independence Day ceremonies.
"Barnea always makes sure to be close to the action, in places of social turmoil, in times of war or terror attacks, and even when his presence there puts his life at risk," the Israel Prize judges wrote. Barnea, 63, is widely considered one of Israel's most influential journalists.
Palestinians ready kosher produce
Palestinian farmers are reportedly preparing for a windfall from sales of produce to Israelis who observe the Jewish law that requires Jewish-owned land to lie fallow. The next Jewish year, 5768, is shmitta, meaning that it falls at the end of a seven-year cycle ordained by the Torah and in which religiously observant Israelis are formally barred from raising or harvesting fruits and vegetables. Some ultra-Orthodox groups in Israel have been in talks with Palestinian officials about obtaining produce from the Gaza Strip as an alternative, the Israeli newspaper Hatzofeh reported Monday. The meetings reportedly were facilitated by the Israeli military, which pledged to expedite the merchandise's transport out of Gaza. ."
Leo at the Wall spurs a fracas
Police tried to limit access to the Western Wall Plaza late Monday when actor Leonardo DiCaprio, on an Israel tour, paid his respects along with his Israeli girlfriend, model Bar Refaeli. Paparazzi surged forward and were rebuffed violently by DiCaprio's bodyguards. Two of the guards were arrested for assault, police said. Earlier Monday, DiCaprio and Refaeli made an after-hours visit to Yad Vashem. The actor's arrival in Israel has prompted a media frenzy that has been stoked by the glitzy couple's camera shyness.
Israel fires ambassador who was found drunk and bound
Jerusalem sources said Monday that Tsuriel Raphaeli, its ambassador to El Salvador, has been recalled after El Savaldoran police a couple of weeks ago found him drunk, bound and wearing only bondage paraphernalia. Raphaeli had been expected back in Israel due to family issues, the political sources said. The Foreign Ministry had no immediate word on who would replace him.
Report: Rabin assassin expects child
Ma'ariv reported Tuesday that Yitzhak Rabin's jailed assassin Yigal Amir, who is serving a life sentence, impregnated his wife, Larissa Trimbobler, during a recent conjugal visit. Amir was jailed for murdering the Israeli prime minister in 1995, but only last year did the Prisons Service fully recognize his marriage to Trimbobler, which was performed in a proxy ceremony. Amir's family had no immediate comment on the Ma'ariv report.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.