Election aftermath and misplaced wagers
Hebrew media review

Election aftermath and misplaced wagers

Israel's political arena responds to Obama's reelection; Syrian civil war gets too close for comfort; and the IDF keeps it all in the family

Paratroopers in training (photo credit: IDF Spokesman's Office/Flash90)
Paratroopers in training (photo credit: IDF Spokesman's Office/Flash90)

Much of the weekend papers, which came out today, is dedicated to the aftermath of the US presidential election and the ramifications for Israel of a second Obama term in the White House.

“The Obama Effect,” reads the top headline in Yedioth Ahronoth. Nahum Barnea writes that, now that the lights are out, the confetti swept aside and the euphoria of victory has subsided, a pile of urgent problems awaits on the president’s desk. “Israel,” he writes, “isn’t one of them.”

Sima Kadmon offers that Netanyahu is slowly digesting his mistake of backing Mitt Romney and is trying to make amends by calling to congratulate the president, getting his picture taken with the US ambassador and silencing his party’s Obama bashers. “Too little, too late,” she concludes.

Israel Hayom highlights Netanyahu’s congratulatory post-election call to Obama in its top headline, with a story that breaks down how the Obama victory may influence the upcoming Israeli elections. The story details that ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert apparently believes that Obama’s reelection is also an opening for his own return to the premiership, while his former deputy Tzipi Livni is attempting — so far, to no avail — to get President Shimon Peres to make a comeback of his own at the head of a center-left bloc.

“New term, old problems,” reads the top headline in Haaretz. The paper offers two pages of post-election fodder, which includes a debate over the question of whether or not Obama will punish Israel for Netanyahu’s perceived support for Romney.

Maariv leads with Netanyahu’s accusation that “there are those among us who are trying to instigate strife with the US.” Though there has been no shortage of voices who, for months, have said that Netanyahu’s thinly veiled preference for Romney in the run-up to the elections will come back to haunt Israel, it was only when Olmert called him out on it publicly — in a meeting with Jewish leaders in New York on Wednesday — that Netanyahu saw fit to respond. The story also reports on Netanyahu’s phone call to Obama, in which he congratulated the president on his reelection and called it “a vote of confidence in your leadership.”

The second major story to appear in all the papers deals with yesterday’s close call in the north, where a Syrian mortar shell, which fell in the middle of a village in the Golan Heights, failed to explode. The bomb was one of three that crossed the border Thursday; they were probably misfires from Syria’s ongoing internal clashes. However, as the fighting nears the border and these types of accidents become more common, residents of the Golan are increasingly worried and are urging the government to take action.

Maariv offers a photo of the bomb’s controlled detonation by sappers, leaving readers to imagine the possible damage had the mortar not malfunctioned and landed harmlessly between two houses.

On page 3, Yedioth reports on an innocent bystander who was injured as a result of an underworld assassination in Holon. When a gang leader’s car was riddled with bullets in a drive-by shooting, a 53-year-old man, who happened to be crossing the street, suffered a bullet wound to his midsection. Police fear the killing will spark a gang war. The bystander’s wife laments his bad luck, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Much of Maariv’s attention in the last couple of months has gone to its own hardships; today is no exception. A full column on its front page this morning is dedicated to a farewell to many of its departing employees, after the publication’s new owner decided to close the sports and business sections of the paper.

Chen Kotes-Bar writes about the sorrow of seeing many of the publication’s journalists being fired and the determination of those who remain to continue their journalistic legacy.

“Never have I seen so many men in tears as I did yesterday in the hallways of Maariv,” continues Kotes-Bar. “Yesterday’s firings will leave scars and deep sadness in all of us.”

Israel Hayom, on page 27, reports about a special military drill that keeps it all in the family. According to the article, on Tuesday the IDF held a unique “Father-son parachute jump” into the sea. In the exercise, which took place off the Atlit beach just south of Haifa, two generations of paratroopers joined forces and jumped from a plane into the cool Mediterranean waters. Though the training jump had no operational purpose, events like this keep the military’s ethos going and are apparently good for morale.

Among the jumpers was IDF chief of the General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz. His son, a combat soldier in a paratroopers battalion, was unable to participate due to a training injury.

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