As could be expected, the Hebrew newspapers Wednesday morning pale in comparison to their predecessors from the day before, with little news other than followups — mostly dealing with the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Monday — and other assorted bric-a-brac gracing the front pages.
Take Yedioth Ahronoth for instance, which leads off with the news that Israel has now gone 100 days without a Bank of Israel governor, a fact which seemingly affects almost no one besides acting governor Karnit Flug, whom Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thus far refused to give the job. This is confirmed by the fact that the “anniversary” flies under pretty much all the other papers’ radars (though perhaps it played into US President Barack Obama’s decision to suddenly tap Janet Yellen for the Fed chair job late Tuesday night).
What is on other papers’ radars is the Hamlet-like political fighting already erupting around the grave of late Shas leader Ovadia Yosef, while the funeral baked meats could still coldly furnish forth marriage tables.
Maariv cites members of the Eli Yishai camp who paint their man as the Danish prince usurped by his uncle Aryeh Deri. According to the article, Yishai’s people are angry over the fact that Deri put Yishai, who until recently was the party’s political leader, and former chief rabbi Shlomo Amar, who had a public falling-out with Yosef, way low on the list of eulogizers, instead putting himself and his crocodile tears at top.
“He controlled the funeral and the eulogies out of political considerations,” an unnamed person in the Yishai camp reportedly said. “He made big overwrought displays of crying and tears, and didn’t miss a single channel or microphone. He spoke about the father and the leader. Only a year earlier he threatened the rabbi that he would run against him on a separate list. At that time he didn’t seem to care so much about the health of the ‘great father.’”
Israel Hayom puts on its best Joan Rivers and gives a play-by-play of the Who’s Who who visited the mourning tent outside Yosef’s home yesterday, including Netanyahu, who was confronted by the family over new legislation that will see yeshiva students drafted into the military. “We are waiting,” the paper quotes one of Yosef’s sons — it’s not clear which — saying. “We felt that this was one of the most important issues for him. He told you these words: I lost a son, but what can I do, the world of Torah hurts more.” The paper quotes Netanyahu responding that “we are making every effort to unify the nation, to protect the nation.”
Haaretz, which has not shied away from slaying the sacred cow of Yosef’s legacy and seems to have gotten over his death fairly quickly, tries looking ahead to see where, if anywhere, Shas can go from here. Wherever it is going, the paper’s Yair Ettinger writes, it will likely take some time to get there. “This process could be never-ending, since the repercussions of the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef are wider and deeper than the Sephardi consensus, and it’s not clear that answers to the questions like where will the Sephardi/ultra-Orthodox public and general ultra-Orthodox public turn, will wait for the rabbis. … Even on the Haredi street, the power has transferred in the last years to the street, and the question of how they will vote in outside elections will bring yearning for the rabbinical ‘giants of Israel’ who have passed.”
In Yedioth, Danny Adino Ababa notes that Yosef’s gravesite, still warm, has already become a shrine. “Hundreds of Israelis, maybe thousands, made a pilgrimage yesterday to the old cemetery to see the grave of the leader up close. Many of them tried to get close even two nights ago, but were unable to weave their way through the wave of mourners.”
The papers though, are beginning to get over Yosef’s death and report other news. Maariv reports that Israeli officials are fretting over the fact that the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons is only a “drop in the ocean.” (This seems to be a running theme of Maariv’s, which on Monday reported that Israeli officials were worried that Assad was still holding biological weapons.) The paper notes that Israel realizes it’s not a bad thing to have Assad’s chemical weapons destroyed, but isn’t sure it’s a good one.
“The army’s intelligence unit is following the whole process of the dismantling of the Syrian arms. … Since the decision to cancel the American strike and the deal to dismantle the chemical weapons by the UN, there is a disagreement among defense officials – whether the process is good for Israel, or more dangerous than helpful.”
Comings and goings
Yedioth and Israel Hayom both report on the return home of Noam Glick, the 9-year-old girl shot outside her home in the Psagot settlement Saturday night. “She’s already left the house and gone to play with her friends,” her father tells Israel Hayom.
Some are coming home and others are leaving. Haaretz’s editorial tackles the brain drain and general drain of Israelis for greener pastures abroad, placing blame on the prophet of doom himself, Benjamin Netanyahu: “The gravity of Netanyahu’s message goes beyond the bounds of the negotiating room; it affects every citizen of Israel: If the country is headed for destruction and ruin, or at least for perpetual war with the heirs of the Nazis, one can understand why young people are seeking their future elsewhere.”