A bomb went off on a bus near Tel Aviv on Sunday but nobody was harmed, giving the press cause to celebrate the driver and passenger whose quick reactions prevented disaster.
“A big miracle in Bat Yam,” is what Israel Hayom calls Sunday’s incident as it heaps plaudits on the bus driver, 59-year-old Michael Yoger, and the passenger it credits with discerning the bomb, 40-year-old David Papo.
According to the paper, Papo noticed a wire peeping out of the bag, shouted at Yoger to stop the bus, and Yoger evacuated the vehicle.
Haaretz, however, reports that an unnamed woman, not Papo, is the heroine who warned the bus driver after a suspicious package left under one of the seats raised her concerns.
Yedioth Ahronoth plasters photos of Yoger and Papo on its front page, calling the two “the heroes of the day.” It reports that one police officer’s ears were lightly injured by the blast and he complained of tinnitus.
Maariv reports that after the incident, traffic jams snarled roads in the West Bank because the IDF threw up roadblocks at the entrances to Palestinian villages and closed checkpoints in search of a suspect.
In the aftermath of the explosion, the Shin Bet security service connected the attack to the recent escalation of violence, “after four Palestinians were killed last week in a string of incidents,” Yedioth Ahronoth writes. Unlike recent attempted bombings in the West Bank, however, the paper says the Shin Bet suspects that “this time it’s an organized group” rather than lone wolves. Despite that, the security organization denied that we’re seeing the beginning of a third intifada.
Maariv’s op-ed calls the bombing “amateurish” compared to those which plagued Tel Aviv and Jerusalem a decade ago during the Second Intifada. Amir Rapoport writes that 10 years ago, the terror attacks on Israeli buses were mostly carried out by suicide bombers wearing explosive vests with ball bearings “manufactured in relatively sophisticated terror workshops” belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
“Compared to those days, the attempted attack [on Sunday] was amateurish: Not only was the bomb relatively small, it apparently didn’t contain shrapnel. Moreover, electric wires stuck out of the bag, which alerted the passengers and led to the evacuation of the bus,” he writes, with a bit too much familiarity with bomb-making.
Haaretz’s Amos Harel says that, contrary to the Shin Bet’s claim that there is no third intifada brewing, the bus bombing is a sign of an intensification of Palestinian violence against Israel, and that — contrary to Maariv’s assessment — the bomb was not like recent attacks.
“The bomb on the bus, according to eyewitness accounts, was apparently not particularly sophisticated. Despite this, in order to carry out an attack such as this a [terror] cell is needed, if not infrastructure: someone to prepare the bomb, someone to transport the terrorist to the target and place the bomb itself,” he writes.
He predicts that if US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to bring Israel and the Palestinians to a framework agreement appear on the verge of success, there may be more attacks of this kind.
Elsewhere in the news, Yedioth Ahronoth reports that because of the walloping damage inflicted on electricity infrastructure in the recent storm, which the CEO of the Israel Electric Corporation estimates will top NIS 1 billion ($2.85 million), the company seeks to raise rates to cover the costs. The paper explains that in order to raise the tariff on juice, it must seek approval from a governmental authority that regulates the price of electricity.
According to the paper, the IEC will ask the Electricity Authority for permission to raise electricity rates and, should it be approved, the cost of power is expected to rise by four percent. A graph in Yedioth Ahronoth shows that since March 2011 electricity prices in Israel have increased by nearly 33%.
“The cost of the storm at our expense,” the paper’s headline reads.
And in sports, Maariv reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will follow the example of US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande and will not attend the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in an “unofficial sanction” of the gathering in Russia. The paper quotes the Prime Minister’s Office as saying that the matter is not even being considered.
Israel Hayom runs a brief based on an Iranian news report quoting Palestinian sources who said that a Saudi delegation arrived in Israel 10 days ago and met with Israeli leaders, including Netanyahu. The report also claims that Saudi officials met with Israeli counterparts in Monaco less than a week ago. The paper also cites an Israeli radio report which claimed that the Saudi deputy defense minister visited an IDF base with IDF general staff officers.