With early elections off the table and initial shock of the new unity government wearing off, for the first time in weeks the daily papers are absent a central narrative. the result is a dog’s breakfast, or complete mess, of news reports on a whole slew of topics, giving the front pages a look and feel of an editor’s Pinterest board.
Maariv leads the paper with a story reporting on Washington’s fears that Kadima’s joining the coalition signals an imminent Israeli strike on Iran. According to the story, the White house has asked Jerusalem for explanations for the political move, which some officials believe prepares the ground for an Israeli attack as early as October, before the US presidential elections. Maariv reports that Defense Minister Ehud Barak will be traveling to DC next week to hold talks with administration officials.
In an editorial juxtaposition, the main photo on the page features a pilot sitting in the cockpit of an F-15. A closer look at the photo and its caption, however, reveals that the picture is not an illustration for the suggestion of a looming airstrike (at least not directly) but rather a photo of the newly appointed air force commander. “There are significant challenges ahead of us and we are prepared for any mission we will be asked to complete,” says Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel.
Filling out the page are three unrelated stories: one about the sex and corruption scandal that is rocking the once sleepy town of Kiryat Malachi, where the mayor is accused of rape and, together with other municipal officials, of high level fraud and bribery; another about the closure of Austrian furniture store Kika and the ensuing employee protests; and the third about a special ministerial meeting to decide the government’s course of action with regards to the Givat Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El and the court ruling ordering its partial demolition.
In Israel Hayom the same stories appear, only in a different order, with the Ulpana meeting on the top. Israel Hayom also features front page coverage on Israel’s contention for world chess domination, as local grand master Boris Gelfand takes on his Indian rival for a series of matches that could win him the title of world champion.
Unwilling to let go of the political story of the week, Yedioth Ahronoth dedicates half of its front page to promoting its weekend supplement’s in-depth coverage and analysis of the unity deal and its fallout, including an interview with the star of the show — Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz.
The second half of the page is dedicated to stories on the Kiryat Malachi rape scandal, Kika’s closure and the homosexuality issues that dominated the US presidential campaign yesterday, referencing both Barack Obama’s statement on gay marriage and Mitt Romney’s homophobic boyhood antics.
Haaretz leads the front page with a headline reading: “After Obama, ministers and MKs: examine same-sex marriage.” The promising headline fails however fails to deliver, as the story itself cites only one minister, Agriculture Minister Orit Noked coming out fully in favor of same sex union. The other minister mentioned, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, says that while he is open to learning more about the plights of gay couples desiring to get married in Israel, if asked to vote on it, he would likely vote against. Not wishing to create a coalition crisis with the religious parties, Steinitz makes it clear that he supports the status quo of religious marriage overseen by the Rabbinate.
Below the fold, Barak Ravid writes about a phone call between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Clinton urged Netanyahu to take advantage of the new coalition and make a push for peace with the Palestinians. The US, it appears, is well aware of the finer points of the coalition agreement and wants to see the clause dealing with the peace process implemented with vigor.
On the inside pages readers can find a whole range of stories including: reports of fish going blind due to pollution in the Sea of Galilee and a car accident fatality’s family being billed for the cleaning of road on which she died, in Yedioth; Jerusalem’s light rail making NIS 2.4 million in six months just from collecting fines, in Maariv; Netanyahu’s letter exchange with an eight-year-old girl who wished to offer him her sympathies for the death of his father, in Israel Hayom; and Botox treatments by dentists in Haaretz.
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