HIV, Greece, and emigrating migrants
Hebrew media review

HIV, Greece, and emigrating migrants

A hospital error, a hopeful vote, and homebound Africans

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.

A South Sudanese man waves from inside an airplane at Ben Gurion airport (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)
A South Sudanese man waves from inside an airplane at Ben Gurion airport (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

A smattering of lead stories

Maariv reports that the “hilltop youth,” radical settler teens, are flocking to the Beit El neighborhood of Givat Ulpana, whose court-ordered evacuation and demolition is imminent. The paper reports that they have constructed concrete fortifications and are erecting roadblocks made of tires. At a protest tent they threatened, “There will be war here. We will launch a protest unprecedented in size.”

Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel Hayom write about the possible accidental infection of 150 patients with HIV at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. Israel Hayom runs the headline, “Small chance, big worry.” A cross-section diagram of a human head in Yedioth Ahronoth shows readers precisely how the improperly cleaned endoscopes were reinserted into the mouths and noses of patients after being used on an HIV carrier.

The paper quotes Dr. Boaz Tadmor reassuring patients that the likelihood of infection is very small, an assertion Dr. Daniel Albright of an Israeli AIDS treatment organization supports. Albright places the probability of infection at between 1:10,000 and 1:100,000.

Professor Yehuda Carmeli writes in Israel Hayom that the public should remain calm. Unfortunately, proper cleaning of endoscopic instruments requires at least 20 minutes and several substances. Because there are so many patients and such instruments are frequently used, sterilization procedures are sometimes forgotten or improperly conducted.

Fortunately, the chance of infection is very low. Dr. Carmeli informs John Q. Public that HIV does not last very long outside the human body and that the breathing passages are not the typical sites of transmission.

Haaretz leads with the Greek election results and the conclusion that “in the eurozone the angst is more relaxed.” Results from Sunday’s elections found that parties advocating continued austerity measures and sticking with the euro beat out those advocating secession from the eurozone. The New Democracy party and the PASOK socialist party won a total of 164 seats, enough to form a government.

“Although it seems as though the Greeks don’t believe that someone can save them from the terrible crisis, most are totally innocent in their belief that they prefer to stay with the euro rather than break away and return to the drachma,” it says.

Bye, bye, migrants

Maariv features a large photo of Interior Minister Eli Yishai waving goodbye to a number of departing South Sudanese asylum seekers at Ben Gurion Airport. Its headline reads “Deported sadly, left happily,” and the article features those among the 127 South Sudanese who left Israel Sunday in a positive mood. One man, Peter Mokdo, made T-shirts with “Thank you, Israel” printed on them.

The author, Yuval Goren, concludes his coverage of their departure — largely a symbolic one — with a sarcastic remark. “Now it remains to round up ‘only’ 60,000 more illegal migrants and African asylum seekers and around 100,000 other foreigners remaining in Israel illegally and put them onto planes, too.”

Yedioth Ahronoth’s coverage highlights the tearful goodbyes of others from Sunday’s flight. Adolfo, a 30-year-old South Sudanese who flew back to Juba on Sunday, was bitter on his departure from Israel. “The minute I get out of here I will erase the State of Israel from my memory, but Israel’s terrible treatment of us I will not forget,” he is quoted saying.

Israel Hayom emphasizes the fact that those leaving on a jet plane on Sunday chose to leave voluntarily, and boarded the plane with cash in hand. It quotes Yishai saying that the deportation of South Sudanese and other illegal migrants was not xenophobic, rather an expression of “love of Israel.”

“It is just the beginning of the operation,” Yishai said. “It is the tiniest of tiny amounts, and we are waiting for the court order for the Eritreans and north Sudanese who are regarded as refugees and the Oz unit is prevented from acting against them.”

Haaretz runs an overline that highlights what it considers the next sinister step: “Yishai’s next target — deportation of Sudanese and Eritrean migrants.” The paper quotes Yishai saying, “Between the interests of Sudan and the interests of Israel, I choose Israel.”

The Hotline for Migrant Workers criticized the interior minister’s farewell as a “PR festival in which Yishai lied to the public,” and criticized the government’s deportation of illegal migrants and asylum seekers under what it calls the misleading name “Operation Returning Home.”

Haaretz writer Elisheva Avitzur writes that Jewish law demands better treatment of Tel Aviv’s poor, including African migrants. “Those who call for denying help to African migrants in Israel” deny Talmudic directives to help a city’s impoverished people. Jewish tradition “demands of us to listen to everyone, to the Africans and also to the residents of the low-income neighborhoods. To help all of them. To donate money, and food, or time to the Africans, but also to projects that are relevant to the veteran residents of the neighborhood.”

Yaakov Mitrani rails in Maariv against the prevalence of anti-Israeli tour guides in Jerusalem. According to his estimation, 40% of the tour guides operating in Jerusalem are not Israeli, and they give their customers “explanations painted in fierce Palestinian colors, not only a different worldview, but an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

He calls for greater government enforcement, regulation, and training of tour guides, and a ban on tour guides who preach anti-Israeli opinions and incitement.

“Israeli public diplomacy is not only conducted in New York, Rome, or Paris, but also at the Damascus Gate, the Haas Promenade, and at Yad Vashem. Every day that passes without action, thousands of tourists are exposed to anti-Israeli incitement courtesy of the state,” he writes.

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