The shooting of an Israeli soldier by a Lebanese Army sniper makes top news across the board in Israeli newspapers Monday morning, the first time in days that Israel’s worst snow storm in decades has been trumped on the front pages.
“Soldier killed on Lebanese border,” reads the top headline in Yedioth Ahronoth, though as the incident happened late at night, the report is short on details.
The Lebanese soldier, sitting about 200 meters from the border fence near Rosh Hanikra, according to Israel Hayom, fired off 6-10 shots before being stopped by a colleague.
The paper also reports that Israel is not taking the incident lightly and has reported the shooting to UNIFIL, which is supposed to maintain a buffer zone in southern Lebanon.
“We will not tolerate aggression against Israel and maintain the right to self-defense against attacks on Israel and its civilians,” reads an army statement carried in all the papers.
Amir Rapaport in Maariv writes an analysis trying to handicap the IDF’s chances of responding and thus risking escalating tensions. He’s not sure if it will, but sees in the shooting a throwback to actions by Hezbollah from the past.
“It’s possible the soldier truly acted on his own, but it’s also possible he was sent by Hezbollah to send a message to Israel. This is a copy of actions the organization would take last decade, before the Second Lebanon War, when it would send sniper fire into Israel anytime it felt it was breaching the rules of the game,” he writes.
Amos Harel in Haaretz notes that neither side will be likely to try to increase tensions.
“It will be in Israel’s interest to limit its response this time as well. Neither Israel nor Hezbollah are seeking a comprehensive military confrontation, and the Lebanese government surely does not want to be drawn into such a conflict, which would take its heaviest toll on the people of Lebanon,” he writes.
Israel’s response, or lack thereof, to the weekend snowstorm is also top news.
Israel Hayom leads off with the news that the damage from the storm will likely come to a billion shekels. Haaretz notes that 14,000 people were still without power as of Sunday night (several thousand remain cut off by Monday morning). Maariv buries the news, reporting in a small package that Jerusalem schools are still canceled, and Yedioth tells the story of people freezing without heat for four days in Jerusalem and Kibbutz Tzuba, in the hills southwest of the city.
“We are sitting at home with candles, it’s impossible to read or shower. Everything is dark,” Henri Ponar, 81, tells the paper from his dark Jerusalem home. “We tried to call the power company, but now we don’t have cellphones because our batteries died. We’re fed up, but until now nothing has happened. I’m handicapped, this isn’t simple.”
Israel Hayom reports that while some Electric Corporation workers were slogging through the snow to return power, some 200 were lounging in the resort city of Eilat, attending a conference on space exploration. Though the trip was supposed to be an official work outing, the IEC brass warned engineers who went that they would be docked vacation days for doing so, in light of the extreme weather. It didn’t seem to bother the workers, though, who are among the most handsomely paid in the country.
“I’m not worried about losing money,” one tells the paper. “If the management thinks it’s okay to cancel after we received permission, that’s fine … but I don’t think it will be on our backs.”
Supreme Commander Bibi
But in Maariv, Yael Paz Melamed says the electric company did fine given the circumstances, and it was only the prime minister, with his self-aggrandizing press conferences, and the media outlets that lapped up his every word, that should be taken to task.
“Nothing in the country from the start of the storm had anything to do with the prime minister or was dependent on him. The power company would have done what it did without Netanyahu firing at them and lecturing them. The police would have kept doing their jobs without the prime minister banging on the table, and the Jerusalem municipality would have done its best even without a report on that on live TV from the supreme commander. The only one who couldn’t have managed without these ridiculous press conferences was the prime minister.”
Nahum Barnea in Yedioth notes how the snowstorm brought out the best of both Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, though the good feelings are likely to melt along with the snow.
“On Saturday, at Ariel Junction, peace was in the air. Palestinian drivers were stuck in the snow alongside Israeli drivers. Sometimes the Palestinians helped push, sometimes the Israelis helped. GOC Central Command Nitzan Alon found himself between emergencies. The weekly protest against the security barrier in Bi’lin, a sacred event among the radical left, was canceled because of the weather. This was one of the only weekends in the last several years that there was no protest in the West Bank, no incidents. No Palestinian stone-throwing, no Jewish ‘price tag.’ Another 364 days of snow, and we will have gotten to the end of days.”