The adage “when it rains it pours” holds for three things: iodized salt, rain, and, on Sunday at least, rockets on the south of Israel.
The barrage of over 110 projectiles falling on the country’s southern environs, courtesy of Gazan terrorists, makes the lion’s share of all four front pages of Israel’s major Hebrew-language dailies.
Yedioth Ahronoth skips the news and focuses on a wide range of opinions on life in the south and what to do about it. Ariella Rangel-Hoffman, bringing up the left flank, says Israel needs to atone for its sins against Gaza, such as the blockade it maintains on the Palestinian enclave, if it wants to stop the rockets. “The answer to the question of what we do now starts with the question what we did yesterday, even if it wasn’t all in our hands.”
On the other end of the spectrum, retired Brig. Gen. Ron Pocker says we should blast Gaza back to the Neolithic age with a strong strike against the Strip’s infrastructure and weapons-making and -shooting capabilities. “Only a surgical, daring, decisive strike will bring a solution to our situation,” he writes.
In between, the paper gathers the opinions of Israel’s top leaders (elections, elections) about what to do, though the triumvirate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who have the real power, are left out. The opinions range from Meretz’s call for a diplomatic ceasefire to the Jewish Home party’s demand that Israel act to make sure the Gazans know that shooting rockets is not option. Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz says Israel should reinstate the policy of targeted assassinations against Hamas leaders, and he’s not alone.
Haaretz top headline reports Israel is discussing bringing the policy back into use. The story is a bit more down to earth, with the assassination option revealed to be only the likeliest possibility while Netanyahu is under increasing pressure to act: “The more intensely the southern residents protest what they see as the government’s abandonment of their security, the more seriously he will have to consider taking tougher measures, with a resumption of targeted killings the most likely possibility.”
Both Maariv and Israel Hayom balance the Gaza rockets with Israel’s firing of a warning shot into Syria Sunday after three mortars landed in the Golan last week. Israel Hayom’s front page has side-by-side pictures of damage in Sderot and a rocket in the Golan. Focusing on the human aspect of the pounding the south is taking, southern resident and mother of four Meirav Cohen writes that she is fed up with living under fear of rocket attack.
“We feel ostracized by everyone, like appendages to the State of Israel and not an integral part of it. Our lives are managed under the provisions of the army,” she writes. “We do not see on the horizon any action that will put an end to the firing. Everyone is already used to the idea that shooting at us is fine, because we can absorb it. What will be when they fire on Tel Aviv? Unfortunately, only when serious blood is spilled will they hit Gaza hard. We can only ask: Where is the IDF’s famous deterrence?”
Maariv reports that the IDF is in fact gearing up to sharpen its response on both Syria and Gaza. The paper says that the IDF brass does not want a wide ground operation along the lines of 2008-9’s three-week Cast Lead invasion, but is still looking to hit them harder than the current order of rocket-response-rocket-response.
The paper’s Shalom Yerushalmi notes that there is a direct line that can be drawn between the escalation in the north and south and the coming elections, which had looked to give candidates wielding strong socioeconomic platforms an edge. “It’s wrong to let these events completely dominate the agenda. Things happened here in the last two years. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets because of the socioeconomic situation, panels were formed, social bills came up and were shot down in the Knesset, the national conversation changed.… Many times, too many times, we determined our fate in elections by wars, operations and or terror attacks.”
High mom and hi mom
Rockets weren’t the only news on the agenda. Israel Hayom has a handy tip for medical marijuana users who want to go for a ride while toking up: Don’t. A user of medicinal pot was arrested (and soon released) after police found 15 grams of green on him while he was riding his moped in Tel Aviv. According to the story, the law prohibits driving after taking a drug, except for drugs deemed safe by the Health Ministry. And it seems the ministry hasn’t yet made that call on medical cannabis.
Grandparents skyping with their grandkids is nothing new, but Maariv reports that at Hadassah Ein Kerem, newborn babies are being made able to “skype” with their mothers via a new system that hooks the two up via video and microphone while they’re not in the same room. The program is mostly being used by mothers who underwent caesarean section and are not strong enough to journey to the nursery to see the baby after surgery. “We mostly get babies after caesarean births, and most of them need to rest under supervision for a long time,” the nurse who started the project says. “They want to feel the baby, talk with them, feel how it is to be a mom. At the beginning, we would just take a cellphone picture of the baby, but that was not enough, so thus was born the video talk idea.”
Frogs and dogs
Yedioth’s op-ed section features Guy Bachur using the fable of the frogs to warn off the hurry toward a Palestinian state. Just like the smart frog warned that though a deep hole might look nice now, it will be impossible to leave when the going gets tough, so he says, Israeli leaders need to realize that a Palestinian state might not always look like the great idea it seems like now: “In the wake of the creation of a Palestinian state, in a short time, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians could flow into it, including the Mideast’s most dangerous elements: militant Salafists and jihadi organizations.”
In Haaretz, Aluf Benn takes Labor Head Shelly Yachimovich and Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid to task for shifting to the right, which he says is laying the groundwork for them to join Netanyahu in an upcoming government: “Shelly and Yair will be Bibi’s poodles, and they are planning a new soft campaign against the prime minister. You don’t want to spill bad blood when tomorrow you’ll be begging for a senior portfolio in the government. Thus they aren’t talking about saving democracy, respecting minority rights, or the dangers of galloping to war.”