Let the games begin
Hebrew media review

Let the games begin

The Olympics are still days away but Netanyahu, by balkanizing Kadima, is already angling for the gold in deal-making

You can’t say democracy without “crass,” and some say the defection of a number of Kadima rebels back into the government is just that. Of course, politics, they say, is a dirty game and not for the faint of heart, or in Israel, apparently, strong of party loyalty.

Yedioth Ahronoth is the most cynical with its headline on the news that a number of Kadima Knesset members are breaking away to join the government, calling the move a “liquidation sale” (a term also used by Maariv’s Mazal Mualem). Of course the paper also turns a statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel may have to act to keep Syrian chemicals weapons out of terrorists hands into essentially a declaration of all-out war. At Yedioth this morning, if it bleeds, or can be spun into bleeding, it leads.

The paper’s Sima Kadmon is particularly incensed by the audacity of freshman MK Avraham Duan (who? Exactly) in thinking of crossing over after only six months in the Knesset, though she spills most of her opprobrium over dealmaker Tzachi Hanegbi and deal taker Netanyahu: “There’s no end to the extortion, no end to the cynicism, no end to the embarrassment. After almost three years of trying to divide the largest party in the Knesset… it seems that the dream of Netanyahu to break up Kadima is finally within reach. The man standing behind the fruition of the dream is Kadima member Tzachi Hanegbi, one the men more valued by Netanyahu, who according to rumors has been promised a ministerial post.”

The paper also makes sure to note that the party’s left flank is under pressure to come back into the bosom of Shelly Yachimovich’s Labor or a new party being started by former Kadima stalwart Haim Ramon.

Israel Hayom also leads off with the story, though with less hysterics on its front page. Even the paper’s Matti Tuchfeld is calm in explaining that Kadima is breaking apart simply because the party, sloppily carved out of the centrist and opportunistic (Mofaz, cough cough) elements of Likud and Labor, has reached its expiration date. “Kadima didn’t break up because of the universal enlistment law, it didn’t break up because of changes to the government system. It broke up because it was its time to go. Two terms for it were more than enough.”

The papers all differ on how many MKs are splitting away. Yedioth lists nine, Maariv has seven and Israel Hayom says only five are on their way out for now, with a long list of maybes.

Unappealing measure

Haaretz is the only paper to not lead with Kadima’s breakup (maybe it would if it were Meretz), instead putting front and center the story of a proposed law which would keep African migrants from being able to appeal their deportation. The story details that while they would still technically be able to appeal, they would only be able to do so after they had been deported. “In this way, it is possible that most of the appeals will become superfluous and we will save ourselves unnecessary legal proceedings,” the bill’s explanatory note explains, according to the paper.

Also above the fold in Haaretz is news that the Israel Museum will begin having special hours when they will allow only men or women in order to accommodate the ultra-Orthodox population. The paper unpredictably manages to hide its feelings on the matter in the piece, though the story’s placement gives it away. The gender-segregated hours will be held outside of normal museum operating hours and will aim to draw vacationing yeshiva students and their families (though not together) for an exhibit on Hasidic culture.

Bad news lions

With all the talk of Syria’s chemical weapons and what to do with them, Maariv does a handy-dandy survey of what Syria holds and where. The bad news: It’s everywhere, including in rebel strongholds Homs and Hama. The other bad news: the chemicals weapons include sarin gas, the VX nerve agent, mustard gas and cyanide. The good news: At least they don’t have nukes.

In Yedioth’s op-ed section, Benjamin Tobias writes that the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, on Friday should not be blamed on violent movies. “Movies are an easy target for attack, but cinema hasn’t for a long time been in the realm of influence, but rather just a screen. We enjoy seeing violence on the screen precisely because we know that it is not real.”

Haaretz seems determined to not let the Moshe Silman story die, even though the man who self-immolated was buried on Sunday. “Just as it seemed that the social protest was dying, Silman’s drastic step was a reminder that nothing has been solved and very little has changed since the wave of demonstrations last summer,” the paper’s unsigned editorial reads. “What a pity that such a terrible step was needed as a prompt, but such a step must bring about a deep change to Israeli society and its priorities.”

read more: