What, me worry?
Hebrew media review

What, me worry?

Food prices, gas prices, Iran, Egypt: There's no shortage of concerns in today's news

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.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. (photo credit: AP/Vahid Salemi, File)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. (photo credit: AP/Vahid Salemi, File)

If there’s one word that makes the rounds in every Israeli paper on Thursday it’s “worried.” They worry about Iran, worry about Egypt, worry about the price of food and gas, worry about rockets. It’s like the news editors went on vacation and left their grandmothers in charge.

Maariv reports that Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren is worried that a delay of another year in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program is substantial. “A year, two years, three or four is a long time in the Middle East,” he said. “Look at what happened in the past year.”

Regarding Israel’s diplomatic efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear progress, Oren said, “There is no country more than Israel that wants to solve crises in a diplomatic manner, but on the issue of Iran diplomacy has failed.”

Israel Hayom is worried about Ayatollah Ali Khamenei growing bitter and hateful of Israel in his old age. The 73-year-old Supreme Leader of Iran, speaking in advance of Friday’s al-Quds Day celebrations, said that “it is a religious obligation to rescue Palestine from the bondage of the Zionist occupation.” Why so negative, Khamenei? He is further quoted by the paper saying that Israel will be “erased from the geographical scene.” His hateful rhetoric just seems so lackluster these days.

Yedioth Ahronoth worries about rockets possibly falling on the southern resort city of Eilat Wednesday night. Two explosions were heard across the city and police suspected it was rockets fired from Egypt. The search was on to find the remnants of the projectiles. Most tragic was that an Eyal Golan concert was canceled mid-show due to safety concerns. A police officer got on stage and told the crowd of 4,000 to disperse because of the risk of further rocket attacks.

Haaretz is worried about the uncoordinated encroachment of Egyptian troops into the Sinai Peninsula. It reports that officials in Jerusalem only heard about the reinforcement of Egyptian forces in the ostensibly demilitarized zone after they had already been transferred. Dozens of tanks have been moved to the area surrounding el-Arish as of late — a direct violation of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty — without Israeli notification or consent. Haaretz quotes officials in Jerusalem saying that despite concerns to the contrary raised by Sunday’s Egyptian military shake-up, there is full communication with Cairo.

Maariv also worries about how Israeli families with afford to eat now that the price of bread, eggs, meat, vegetables, and milk has gone up. The paper cites the increase in food prices as 13% for milk and dairy, 7% for bread, 17% for eggs, 14% for chicken, and 15% for vegetables. Israel Hayom cites the figures as 20% for fruits and vegetables, 8-17% for eggs, 6-15% for chicken and turkey, and 6-13% for dairy products.

Yehuda Sharoni points out that the reason the price of basic foodstuffs is on the rise is because the Defense Ministry refused to take a budget cut along with the rest of the government. Instead, it may get a budgetary increase at the expense of ministries that provide social services.

“The 2013 budget cuts will be launched in addition to rising food prices, gas prices, and value added tax increases,” he writes. Although some food products are government-subsidized, “the government won’t have a choice but to approve their increase, as it did last week when it decided to raise bread prices by 6.5 percent.”

As for gas, Yedioth Ahronoth reports that prices will break the magical and arbitrary ceiling of NIS 8 per liter and rise to NIS 8.15 per liter from NIS 7.70. It cites the reason for the climb as the increase in the dollar-shekel exchange rate (which as of Thursday stood at 4.04 shekels to the dollar), the increase in global oil prices, and the slated increase in VAT in the next few weeks.

Amnon Ben-David writes that until gas prices are set at the end of the month, “every little change in the price of benzene and the dollar will have an effect on the final price.”

Neri Livneh writes in Haaretz that we should go to war in August rather than October, citing the late summer heat. “In August, no one has the energy to get into a dispute, especially those so-called lefties, who because of their politics are suspected to be from Tel Aviv,” she writes.

She continues her tongue-in-cheek advisory to the prime minister saying the best time to attack would be “right now, this very moment, when many of us who have had to remain in Israel in August would like to die, especially if we have small children; and if not now then on August 25, sparing the dear children of Israel the need to go back to school.”

If not now, she says, then “the attack could be delayed at the very latest to the eve of Rosh Hashana, thereby sparing us the nightmare of the holidays.”


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