Arrests, at long last
Hebrew media review

Arrests, at long last

Police announce breakthrough in gay center shooting; EU could back Palestinians at Hague; Israel's soccer team disappoints

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Members of the gay community mourn the deaths of two community members in Tel Aviv in August 2009.  (Photo credit: Gili Yaari / Flash90)
Members of the gay community mourn the deaths of two community members in Tel Aviv in August 2009. (Photo credit: Gili Yaari / Flash90)

Domestic news items lead Thursday’s papers, as the Hebrew dailies focus on a breakthrough in a shooting case four years ago that led to arrests, as well as outrageous comments by a judge toward a rape victim. News from Syria and European threats against Israel should it continue to build in the West Bank are the leading topics in regional news.

“We’ve captured the killers,” reads Yedioth Ahronoth‘s headline, referring to the new arrests in the Bar-Noar shooting four years ago.

Police arrested three people suspected of the shootings at the gay youth bar, in which 16-year-old Liz Trubeshi and Nir Katz, 26, were killed. According to the paper the three, all from Pardes Katz, were nabbed in broad daylight by undercover police. (Since the papers went to bed, another arrest was made.)

While there is still a gag order on most of the details, sources said one of the three was the actual shooter, while it wasn’t clear how involved the other two were. It was still unclear whether the motive for the shooting was homophobia and hatred, or if there was a another reason — either criminal or personal. (Thursday afternoon reports indicate the latter.)

Israel Hayom‘s front page, too, is dominated by the capture of the shooter. Israel’s GLBT association told the tabloid it was in touch with the police and was “receiving constant updates.”

The investigation, the paper reports, is considered one of the costliest in the country’s history. “Hundreds of investigators worked tirelessly, followed potential suspects and at a certain time even the Shin Bet was brought into the picture,” the daily reveals.

Maariv leads with a European threat toward Israel: “If you trip up the negotiations, we’ll back the Palestinians in the Hague.” The message, which the paper said was conveyed by “a number of diplomats from central countries in the EU” to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reportedly said those states would back the Palestinians’ legal actions against Israel if Jerusalem was seen as the side that prevents the talks from restarting. Key among the actions viewed as Jerusalem’s fault is the building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Unnamed diplomatic sources told the paper the European countries would also increase their efforts to label products manufactured beyond the Green Line as such, as a way of pressuring Israel to change its policy and return to the negotiation table.

The main picture on Haaretz is of a Syrian tank in the center of Qusair, a strategic city that President Bashar Assad’s troops have managed to recently retake from the hands of the opposition forces.

According to the paper the capture of the city, located close to the Lebanese border and Aleppo, was largely thanks to the involvement of thousands of Hezbollah fighters who crossed into Syria and aided the regime’s army in battle. Taking Qusair, the daily notes, could be the turning of the tide as it gives Assad’s forces an advantage before the battle over Aleppo.

UEFA’s Under-21 Championship tournament, the most prestigious tournament held in Israel in decades, makes headlines as the blue-and-white team conceded a last-minute goal to Norway for a disappointing 2-2 draw in the opening match.

“Half the stadium guessed a last-minute goal would ruin everything,” Uri Kopel writes in Yedioth, describing how the fans enjoyed watching their team play — but knew that, even against Norway, Israel isn’t up to par when it comes to European competition. Soft defense, inaccurate passing, lack of basic technical skills, he writes. “The usual problems.”

All the papers report on the comments by judge Nissim Yeshaya, who sparked outrage on Wednesday after he remarked, during an appeals hearing on a rape case several days ago, that “some women enjoy rape.”

In a statement by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Supreme Court President Asher Grunis quoted in the dailies, they say Yeshaya expressed his regret for the inappropriate remarks and asked to be removed from all his posts.

“I felt rage. And then great sadness,” Yael Lerner writes in Israel Hayom about the comments by Yeshaya. The sadness, she says, is because the fact that a judge allowed himself to tell a 20-year-old who was brutally raped that some women enjoy it teaches us about the society we live in.

Rabbis, educators, celebrities — everyone seems to think they can abuse their power and hurt others, even through sexual abuse, Lerner writes. The fact that a judge seems to agree is dangerous. It’s even worse, she claims, “because I’m sure he’s not the only man who thinks so.”

“After four years, my phone finally rang last night. On the line were police investigators. It was the first time I’d heard from them since that night at the Bar Noar. ‘We can’t tell you much,’ they said to me,’ but know we’ve arrested suspects.'” writes Yoni Boks, who was injured in the Bar Noar shooting, in a special column for Yedioth.

Boks says that however comforting it was to hear the news — “yes, it made me feel good to know he was caught” — things would never go back to the way they were. “Physically, I’ll never feel like this story is over. I sit in a wheelchair. Paralyzed from the waist down.”

“I prefer to remember, it gives me strength,” Boks says, noting he was conscious for the duration of the incident. “What do I feel now? I feel I beat him. I, Yoni Boks, beat the murderer.”

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