Foiled from above
Hebrew media review

Foiled from above

Israel prevents a major attack from Gaza; a shooting rocks northern Israel; and the Education Ministry undergoes a change

Adar Cohen at a Education Committee meeting in the Knesset in April (photo credit Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Adar Cohen at a Education Committee meeting in the Knesset in April (photo credit Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Reactions pour in from across the board to Sunday night’s terror attack  in which 16 Egyptian policemen were killed before the attackers stole two armored vehicles and crossed the border into Israel; one vehicle was destroyed at the fence and an IAF helicopter destroyed the other.

All the papers (save Haaretz) feature a picture with a burnt-out vehicle on their front pages. Haaretz and Maariv use descriptions of the attack as their headlines (Maariv uses the informative “Terrorists hijack two Egyptian armored vehicles and break through the border crossing in the south”), while Yedioth and Israel Hayom are more dramatic in their headlines: “IDF foils mega attack” from Israel Hayom and “Terror attack from Sinai” from Yedioth.

While the papers may vary in their choice of headlines, the coverage is very similar. All the papers (except Israel Hayom) include graphics showing the timeline and location of each stage of the attack. Israel Hayom includes an article noting that the attack took Egypt totally by surprise. The article reports that military officials in Cairo recommend sending more forces into the Sinai or risk losing half the peninsula.

In addition to the reporting on the attack itself, the papers include opinion pieces that interpret what the attack means for Israel and how to respond.

Yuval Limor writes in Israel Hayom that this attack should finally draw attention to the homegrown terror in Sinai. Limor praises the efforts of Egyptian and Israeli officials to coordinate last night but says “the Israelis heard that the Egyptians were really confused.” Limor now fears that the terror groups will rule Sinai  in the wake of this attack. Not only Olympics records were broken last night, he writes, but also records on the Sinai border: “a new standard of madness and violence.”

Writing in Maariv, Ben Caspit praises the security and intelligence services but lashed out at the Egyptian authorities who up to this point have been unresponsive to Israeli warnings. “The Egyptian army yesterday paid the price in blood for that indifference. I’m not happy about it, but you cannot ignore the fact that it was poetic justice.” Caspit writes that Israel’s eastern border with Jordan is the only truly quiet one and laments that the security cooperation that existed between Israel and Egypt has deteriorated.

Tzvi Barel writes in Haaretz that the Egyptians are expected to request from Israel permission to put more forces in the Sinai. “There is no escaping that there is a serious problem in the Sinai of which Mohammed Morsi is well aware of.” Barel recounts that Morsi visited the Bedouin leadership in the Sinai while campaigning for president and called the Bedouin an “indivisible part of the state.” But the balancing act now is having the army respond appropriately while convincing the Bedouin to turn away from the terror groups.

Yedioth includes a piece by Alex Fishman who, like Caspit, laments Egypt’s cavalier attitude toward Israeli warnings of terror. “Just last week the new Egyptian interior minister said that the warnings were just Israel trying to hurt the Egyptian tourism industry.” Similar to Caspit, he also praises the Israeli security services and worries about the chances that Egypt is missing to retake the Sinai. “Israel is approaching that point where it might need to take action in the Sinai… Otherwise there will be a bloodbath here the likes of which we have never known.”

Maariv reports that the attack wasn’t the only event shaking the south as residents spent hours in shelters on Sunday after the IDF assassinated a terrorist in the Gaza Strip. The assassination caused mortars and rockets to be fired at the south. The paper reports that the combination of the rocket and mortar fire followed by the attack on the Egyptian police officers meant that residents of the south spent a majority of their night in their shelters.

Tragedy in the north

Another case of domestic violence rocks Israel as a man committed a murder-suicide at his home outside of Haifa. Yedioth reports that Eli Yihiya, a former prison worker, shot his wife and stepson before turning the gun on himself. His stepson survived the attack and was left in serious condition. His words are used as the article headline, “Eli shot me and my mother.”

Maariv reports that the four-year-old boy pulled out of the Sea of Galilee  on Saturday after nearly drowning has died from his injuries. This death comes after another child, a 10-year-old boy, drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday.

Educational firing

Both Haaretz and Israel Hayom report on the dismissal of Adar Cohen, the (now former) head of the civics department for the Education Ministry. Haaretz claims that pressure from the Israeli rightlost himhis job, while Dror Eydar of Israel Hayom writes that it was not politics but a lack of professionalism on Cohen’s part. The issue at the center of the debate is that Cohen approved a post-Zionist textbook to be included in the curriculum. Haaretz points out that many colleagues and educators have spoken out on behalf of Cohen. Yet Eydar states that the ministry suffered the consequences of Cohen’s decision through monetary damages, mental anguish, etc.

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