Love, terror and basketball
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Hebrew media review

Love, terror and basketball

The death of Malachy Rosenfeld, 25, in a shooting attack rocks the press, but no one quite knows who is behind it

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Sara and Eliezer Rosenfeld at Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem on June 30, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Sara and Eliezer Rosenfeld at Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem on June 30, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The death of 25-year-old Malachy Rosenfeld on Tuesday of wounds sustained in a West Bank shooting attack the previous night shakes up the Hebrew newspapers on Wednesday, as security officials offer conflicting assessments about whether “lone wolves” or a coordinated cell are behind a string of terror attacks in past weeks.

“Malachy’s parents sat near his bed in the trauma unit in Shaare Zedek hospital and prayed for a miracle. Up until the last minute, they prayed that the death won’t strike again, like it did 13 years ago, when they lost their oldest son Yitzchak Menachem, a pilot in the air force,” Yedioth Ahronoth reports. “That this time it should end differently. But yesterday evening, their hopes were dashed. Malachy Rosenfeld, who was critically injured in the shooting attack near Shvut Rachel, died of his wounds.”

In 2002, Yitzchaki Rosenfeld, 22, was killed in a jeep accident in the Tzeelim nature reserve. He was named for his uncle, who was killed during his military service in 1978. Malachy Rosenfeld is survived by his parents and seven siblings, and was set to be buried on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Yedioth reports that Rosenfeld’s Kochav Hashachar basketball team won his last game. Rosenfeld was on his way home from the game with several teammates when their car came under fire in the West Bank.

Malachy Rosenfeld (Facebook)
Malachy Rosenfeld (Facebook)

Israel Hayom similarly spotlights the double tragedy in the Rosenfeld family, under the headline: “Bereavement strikes twice.”

Rosenfeld was a student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and was supposed to graduate in a month with honors, it reports.

While the doctors struggled to save Rosenfeld’s life, his mother told the press: “He’s an amazing kid, who will graduate Hebrew University with honors. A kid who loves basketball, and really just lives a normal life.”

Meanwhile, mixed messages emerge from various military briefings about who’s behind the attack, with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon saying Hamas’s Turkey branch is to blame. A senior army officer later told the media the uptick in violence is not linked or organized by a particular cell.

Yedioth notes the confusion, and Israel Hayom omits Ya’alon’s assessment. Haaretz emphasizes the defense minister’s remarks, adding that both the PFLP and Hamas unofficially took credit for the attack. Pamphlets distributed in the West Bank blamed the attack on Fatah’s armed wing, but the sourcing is questionable, since Fatah fighters are primarily located in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, it reports.

In a column for the paper, Amos Gilad maintains that “such an unusual string of attacks may indicate that the perpetrators are not lone wolves with no affiliation to terror groups, as most attacks of the past two years have been.”

“Black-market prices for arms and ammunition in the West Bank have risen sharply. For instance, a Kalashnikov rifle now goes for almost NIS 24,000 ($6,400), and even a single Kalashnikov bullet costs NIS 12,” he writes. “Thus the weapons used in the recent attacks, and the money needed to buy them, may indicate that these were planned operations by cells of one or more terror groups. The attacks near Shvut Rachel and Dolev both required much more planning and preparation than did the stabbings and vehicular attacks that characterized previous periods of tension.”

Gas under pressure

Meanwhile, the details of the controversial gas deal emerge, proving less controversial to the dailies than the government’s conduct on the matter.

“The main problem unmasked by the controversial natural gas plan is the government’s decision-making process and way it’s managed. The greatest embarrassment was the panicked running about through the Knesset hallways, trying to break down regulatory walls and extricate the natural gas market from its paralysis,” Haaretz writes in its editorial.

“No one expects the government to acquire the skills of Noble Energy, considered an international expert in gas drilling, and find and produce natural gas on its own. But it is expected to enact policy, open the market and monitor its players effectively for the benefit and needs of the economy. The government has to make major decisions in vital realms, such as security and foreign affairs. The natural gas affair does not give Israelis grounds to trust that their elected officials are doing their best for them.”

Over in Yedioth, columnist Sever Plotzker more pointedly says that the newly revealed plan “has not one significant detail that has not already been revealed, and discussed at length.”

“Its publication won’t change the minds of the supporters of the main points of the plan, nor of those that oppose it,” he adds.

He writes that the plan “while not ideal, is in accordance with standards around the world with regard to energy,” and restricts the companies.

State Comptroller Yosef Shapira’s demand that the deal be frozen until after he releases a report is “unnecessary, comes too late, and is not serious,” Plotzker adds.

Over in Israel Hayom, the daily’s Dan Margalit terms the deal “the best deal that could be reached under these conditions.”

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