Just when you thought that Benjamin Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey earlier this year had solved all the problems between the two countries (of course you thought that), The Washington Post reports that, back in 2012, Turkey deliberately gave up the identities of Israeli spies in Iran.
Yedioth Ahronoth places its outrage front and center, calling it a “Turkish betrayal.” On the inside pages, the paper rehashes The Washington Post’s coverage and gets some off-the-record (and menacing) remarks from the Israeli intelligence community. “We know with whom we have business in Ankara,” one source says. The paper infers that the betrayal shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise; even Ehud Barak was recorded in 2010 as saying that the head of Turkish Intelligence, Hakan Fidan, is “a fan of Iran.”
Included in the paper’s coverage are three short op-eds about Iran and Turkey in light of the latest development. Smadar Peri writes that betrayals will probably become the norm between Israel and Turkey in the future. A Turkish intelligence official tells Peri that “the honeymoon [between Israel and Turkey] ended a long time ago.” Instead on focusing on the betrayal and the loss of an Israeli intelligence network, Peri writes that Israel should focus on what Iran gave Turkey in exchange for the spy ring.
Israel Hayom gives a blurb to the broken spy ring, but its front page focus is on a terror attack last night in the West Bank. Younis al-Radeideh, a resident of Beit Hanina, drove a backhoe into an army base, knocking down a fence and slightly injuring one soldier before he was shot and killed by the IDF. According to the daily, this type of attack was not unknown to al-Radeideh, whose brother was killed when he committed a very similar act in 2009 in Jerusalem, when he rammed into and dragged a police car 30 meters.
The front page of Haaretz puts a teaser for its latest poll as its top story. The paper’s “If elections were held today” survey shows that Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would gain one seat, while Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would lose nine. The poll also asked which political leader has been the most disappointing: Lapid leads the way with 51 percent, followed by Netanyahu at 19%. Haaretz switches from domestic politics to the Palestinians, asking respondents if, in light of recent terror attacks, Israel should stop negotiating: forty-nine percent voted to keep talking, while 38% preferred to stop the peace talks.
Maariv copies Haaretz’s style and seemingly uses its front page to report not on current events, but instead to focus on a story it wants the reader to know. This story, however, is not a poll, but rather about the Russian initiative to renew its relationship with Egypt. Citing its recent success in using Syria to return to the world stage, Russia now wants to go back to Egypt and be its ally. The Soviet Union was once very close to Egypt, providing it with military and economic aid. However, the paper reports, despite the Russian interest to get back together with Egypt, it won’t be like the days of yore. Sergei Vershinin, director for the Middle East department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, stressed that “we will not return to the days when we built the Aswan Dam.”
Breaking the banks’ glass ceiling
Yedioth reports that Israel Discount Bank has joined Bank Leumi and the First International Bank of Israel in having a female CEO. Lilach Asher-Topilsky was hired away from Bank Hapoalim, where she was the head of retail banking. The paper writes a pretty dry piece on Asher-Topilsky, who lives in Kiryat Ono and has spent the last 15 years in banking. With three of the five major banks now run by women, Liora Ofer, one of the board members of Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, writes, the “glass ceiling has been broken.”
While Israel Discount Bank may have a new CEO, Bank Hapoalim’s old CEO, Dani Dankner, has been convicted of fraud. Israel Hayom reports that the former executive entered into a plea bargain with the state in exchange for dropping some of the more serious offenses, such as money laundering. Dankner will have to pay a fine of NIS 1 million (some $283,000), but it is not clear if he will have to serve any jail time. Dankner’s formal sentencing is due to take place in November.
Gone, but not forgotten
The mourning period has ended for Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua takes the opportunity to criticize the former chief rabbi’s influence on Israeli society. Maariv reports on an op-ed that the author wrote for a French newspaper, where he said he was shocked at how many people turned out for the rabbi’s funeral. “I confess I do not know the rulings and philosophy of the great Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, but I never heard him utter a universal human message with the power to inspire,” Yehoshua wrote. He goes on to say that, rather than unifying Israeli society, Yosef actually fragmented it.
Over in Israel Hayom, Boaz Bismuth responds to Turkey’s outing of Israeli spies in Iran by saying, “Ankara’s goal: Bring us to our knees.” Bismuth asks how this episode fits into the reconciliation brokered by the US. “It’s not working, because in reality there is no reconciliation. Ankara just wants to see Jerusalem brought to its knees. Jerusalem has long realized this. Washington seems to have realized they foiled the reconciliation,” Bismuth writes.
Yoel Marcus has a bit of praise for Netanyahu in the opinion pages of Haaretz. Marcus, who was angered by a “gossipy” New York Times article on Bibi, briefly attacks the piece for focusing on Netanyahu’s vices (ice cream, cigars) and not on anything of substance. He praises Netanyahu for transforming Israeli concerns about Iran into a global issue and for forcing the world to pressure Iran, without having to fire a single bullet. The relative quiet and economic success during Netanyahu’s reign as prime minister (seven years so far, second only to David Ben-Gurion’s 13 years) has left Marcus feeling that, for right now, Bibi is the best person to lead Israel.