Dust-up to dust
Hebrew media review

Dust-up to dust

A soldier is stabbed to death in a nightclub; the US threatens repercussions if PA is dissolved

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Iftach Grady (photo credit: Iftach Grady, Facebook)
Iftach Grady (photo credit: Iftach Grady, Facebook)

A soldier stabbed to death at a club and a Palestinian threat to dismantle cooperation with Israel are the stories of the day Tuesday in the Hebrew press, after a violence-filled ending to the Passover holiday.

“It ended with a knife to the heart,” reads Yedioth Ahronoth‘s headline on the article covering the death of 19-year-old off-duty soldier Iftach Grady in a Raanana club Sunday night. Grady and his friends went out to a nightclub and got into a dust-up with another group of guys, one of whom was reportedly giving one of Grady’s lady friends a hard time.

“Grady, his friends said, didn’t take part in the scuffle and wasn’t among those who caused it to break out — but after the two groups of guys were taken outside the club [by security] he was caught up in the uproar and stabbed to death,” the paper says. Curiously, in an apparent contradiction with Yedioth Ahronoth’s headline, a friend of Grady told the paper he was stabbed multiple times with a meat fork, not a knife.

Grady succumbed to his wounds and was pronounced dead early Monday morning at a hospital in neighboring Kfar Saba.

Israel Hayom also gives Grady’s death top billing, and it quotes police Lt. Cdr. Ratzon Peretz, head of the Kfar Saba police department, saying that his apparent murder was “a very serious incident, unfortunate and specific. Its background was excessive consumption of alcohol.”

The paper quotes his parents, Ezer and Kochava, who it unnecessarily notes are divorced, and quotes Grady’s mother saying, “How did this happen? My son went out to have a good time and didn’t return home.”

A mother whose son was stabbed to death in Rehovot two years ago writes in Yedioth Ahronoth that the judicial system needs to take a tougher stance on those who are indicted for stabbings. “In our country they murder over nothing,” Irit Moati writes. “The courts need to convey a strong message: Anyone who leaves the house with a knife, and anyone who draws a knife and stabs it into the body of another person, is a murderer.”

Haaretz‘s main headline is devoted to the American warning to the Palestinians not to dissolve the Palestinian Authority should the peace talks expire next week. It quotes State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying that such a move by Ramallah would have “grave implications” for relations with the US, including on American aid money.

The paper quotes an unnamed senior Israeli official familiar with the latest round of meetings between Israeli, Palestinian and American officials last week as saying that the “mood on the Palestinian side is very negative” and that negotiator Saeb Erekat’s message was taken very seriously.

“They’re really thinking of taking drastic steps,” the official said. “Unlike in the past we are no longer belittling the Palestinian proclamations of returning the keys” of Palestinian governance to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unofficial mouthpiece quotes him responding to the Palestinian threat to dismantle the PA with a drastically different tone.

“We see that the PA, which was talking about dissolution, is today talking about unification with Hamas,” Israel Hayom quotes the PM saying. “So let them decide: Do they want dissolution or unification? When they want peace, they should let us know, because we want real peace.”

Eitan Haber writes in Yedioth Ahronoth that it’s become evident that “the American attempt to mediate between Israel and the PA on continuing talks over some sort of arrangement is running out of gas.” Any day now, he says, US Secretary of State John Kerry will throw up his hands and throw in the towel.

He says the governing coalition is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand it can’t accept Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s demands to end settlement construction and effectively work toward forming a Palestinian state; on the other hand the prospect of a single-state solution is unpalatable.

“The problem is that the second option, that of one state between the [Jordan] river and the Mediterranean, appears to be a nightmare to the current government,” he says. “One is a plague and the other is cholera, and there, between these two evil shores, sways the ship of fools of the Israelis and Palestinians on a stormy sea.”

And with all this rumpus over teen violence and the disintegration of the Oslo Accords, the Israeli press barely has time to give a sou about the rockets fired at southern Israel on Monday morning. Almost as an afterthought, Yedioth Ahronoth gets around to it on Page 10, reporting that rockets hit Israel, Israel hit Gaza, and then Moroccan Jews down south celebrated Mimouna, marking the end of Passover. Likewise, Israel Hayom puts its coverage of the holiday morning salvos on Page 7, spilling more ink on its Mimouna coverage than on the escalation of hostilities on Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip.

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