Friday’s big story for Israel Hayom and Maariv is the announcement by diplomats in Vienna that Iran has expanded its uranium enrichment program in Fordo. Citing Reuters, both papers report on Iran’s addition of centrifuges in the face of upcoming talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and growing disagreement in Israel.
Israel Hayom writes that Iran is “continuing to fly in the face of the world” in “strengthening its rate of enrichment.” Maariv’s headline reads, “They’re arguing in Israel, in Iran they’re adding hundreds of centrifuges.”
Maariv adds that the Fordo nuclear facility is located outside the Shi’ite holy city of Qom, in the heart of a mountain. “It is mentioned as one of the reasons for a possible Israeli attack in order to prevent the Iranian nuclear program from entering a ‘zone of immunity,’” the paper writes. Israel Hayom notes that the additional centrifuges will enable Iran to enrich uranium at a “significantly” faster pace.
Israel Hayom’s main story, however, is on the dwindling days of summer vacation. More than 2 million children are set to return to school in three days. Haaretz reports that the city of Eilat planned to have segregated schools for Israeli and foreign children, a move lambasted by the High Court of Justice.
“I dont know what would happen if another country would say to an ethnic group, not necessarily Jews, that for one reason or another it will study in another school instead of the regular system,” Justice Yoram Danziger said.
Dan Margalit praises the High Court’s decision in Israel Hayom, saying that while the Education Ministry and Municipality of Eilat’s decision is understandable, it is befitting an enlightened country to reject such a move. “It is forbidden to raise a partition in a school, or divide the sides of a street,” he writes. “Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state negates in advance any solution based on segregation by religion, race, sex, or passport.”
Haaretz reports that the government is planning for the possibility of a forceful removal of 30 settler families from the illegal outpost of Migron next week. Seventeen families’ claims that they legally own the property will be decided by the High Court of Justice on Tuesday, and they are immune from removal until then. Should families refuse to leave willingly, “it will be a significant violation of the agreement [with the government] and the state will not be obliged to provide them with replacement housing.”
The paper also reports on the recent deaths of three of the 700 South Sudanese who Israel sent back to their homeland earlier this summer. According to reports from aid groups, the former workers in Israel died in recent weeks from malaria and typhoid fever. Many of the other migrant workers who were repatriated are reportedly suffering from serious health problems, but are not receiving medical help.
Maariv claims that four returned refugees have died from the lack of medicine and money. It writes that a 7-month-old baby whose family was forced to leave the southern city of Arad for South Sudan died this week. The paper quotes a deported South Sudanese saying that, “Malaria runs amok. Every day someone dies here. People were sent to their deaths.”
Yedioth Ahronoth leads with the rising cost of electricity and the financial burden increased taxes will have on average Israelis. Between rising electricity prices (due in part to rising oil prices) and the recent increase of value added tax from 16% to 17%, the two families Yedioth Ahronoth samples will pay hundreds more shekels on their upcoming electricity bill. It notes that electricity prices have risen from NIS .50 at the beginning of last summer to the current NIS .59.
“Electricity prices in Israel are impossible,” the paper quotes Eyal Pardis, whose electricity bill was NIS 2,600, saying. “This summer cost us tens of thousands of shekels.”
Haaretz writes an editorial praising the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories’ decision to allow approximately 130,000 Palestinians to enter Israel for Eid al-Fitr. “Tens of thousands of West Bank residents had the rare opportunity to visit their families in Israel, swim in the sea and tour the country,” and allowed them “to leave their giant prison, if only for a moment, and get a taste of freedom in the country that occupies them.”
It calls the scene of tens of thousands of Palestinians milling freely on the Tel Aviv beach “moving.” “None of these steps compromised security in any way,” it writes, and calls for an opening of the floodgates in this manner more often than just a rare holiday exception.
“Especially now, when belief in peace has been completely lost, it is vital for Israel to open its doors wide, as long as there is no terror. The tens of thousands of Palestinians who were in Israel this week went home happy. Their happiness should also be ours.”