Car trouble
Hebrew media review

Car trouble

From fatal crashes to hit and runs and problems ramming security checkpoints, today's papers prove it might just be better to take the helicopter

The vehicle involved in Sunday's hit-and-run in which Lior Farhi was killed. (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
The vehicle involved in Sunday's hit-and-run in which Lior Farhi was killed. (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

If it bleeds it leads, journalistic wisdom holds. Apparently in Hebrew this translates into “Slap whatever ol’ story you like on the front page and call it a day.” Thus the papers today show off a panoply of front page stories that prove one editor’s Really Big News is another’s fish wrap.

The only consensus front page story is the Sunday car accident on Route 65 near Megiddo that left three members of the same family killed and only a 1-year-old baby alive, barely. A graphic in Yedioth Ahronoth shows that the accident occurred when a bulldozer, trying to make a turn onto the Jezreel Valley thruway, smashed into the jeep carrying the Kafr Kara family. Rescuers describe how they found the baby “between the bodies.”

“Right when we got there we understood that there were three bodies trapped inside and there was a not a chance to save them,” a rescuer from Magen David Adom told the paper. “But to our surprise we heard a baby crying loudly from the floor of the car. The rescue crew immediately picked him up and gave him a pacifier we found there. Slowly he calmed down and began to stabilize.”

Israel Hayom also has the story on its front page, but in the spirit of the day, leads off with a preview of a weekend story about Rachel Attias, the sole survivor of a car accident that left her whole family dead when their car’s brakes failed and it tumbled off the side of the road. The paper plays up pictures of the 7-year-old smiling and crows about her “new life,” but the words show that less than 100 days after the accident, the scars still cut extremely deep. “She plays with dolls like any second grader, but talks a lot about the rising of the dead and how she misses her wiped-out family. ‘I need the pictures to remember,’ she says while flipping through a photo album. ‘But if I close my eyes tight I can still see them.”

Maariv has two stories of blood on the motorway on its front: The Route 65 crash, and a settlement security coordinator run over and killed while trying to photograph Palestinian illegal workers crossing into Israel. In an appreciation of the man who was killed, Lior Farhi of the Shaarei Tikvah community, he is remembered as someone saw his role as security coordinator as more than being a 9-5 stiff. “He devoted all his time to the personal security of the residents,” the head of the settlement told the paper. “Lior was a person who saw in security a calling and not a job.”

Haaretz also has tales of death and mayhem on the front page, running as a soft lead the news that a Palestinian was charged with leaving a colleague by the side of the road to die after the two were shot at by border police while trying to sneak into Israel by ramming a checkpoint last month.

Dip your tomato in the money


For Yedioth, though, the real red line has nothing to do with death on the highways, or even bombing Iran. It’s tomato prices, skyrocketing tomato prices at that. The Israeli staple now costs consumers NIS 13 for a kilogram (over $3, up from NIS 3 only a few months ago), if you shop where Yedioth shops, which is apparently Expensive Bob’s Pricey Tomatotorium.

The paper is in such a tizzy that it even offers a revolutionary recipe of a salad you can make without tomatoes. Here’s the secret: leave out the tomatoes. Thanks Yedioth!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is fast approaching, and Israel Hayom has the feel kinda-good story of the day about the discovery of a wall hanging with a Rosh Hashanah greeting made by Jews in the Lodz ghetto sometime between 1941 and 1942.

While the happy new year called for on the stitched greeting likely did not come true then, it at least is now making its way to Israel. The hanging has been in a Polish woman’s home since the war and she recently decided to donate it to Israel, where it will be displayed at the Shem Olam Institute for Holocaust documentation at Kfar Haroeh.

Save the journalists (screw their kids)

While many pundits on the left have hemmed and hawed over the purchase of Maariv by hawkish Makor Rishon publisher Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, Haaretz, whose financial straits are not that much better than ailing Maariv’s, is heartened by the news, even if it means the survival of a competitor: “The shrinking media arena in Israel should worry not only journalists, whose livelihood is in danger, but every person who values democracy and understands the critical importance of a pluralistic, varied and free media. The threat in the shuttering of media outlets, print and television, is no less than the threat of harm to any other democratic instrument, be it a human rights group or a law enforcement agency.”

As if to prove why its voice adds to the varied cacophony in the public forum, Maariv’s irascible Rotem Sela writes an op-ed calling for the government to cancel free education for kids from age 3, which just went into effect this year, saying the reform hurts the country in the long run: “The children themselves will also suffer from the change. Because of a lack of competition, thousands of private kindergartens will close or shrink, even though they provide better education.”

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