There are only a few things that could push Egypt’s first real presidential election off the front page, and one of them, it turns out, is a mini-volley (read pair) of rockets shot from that aforementioned neighbor into Israel’s sandy backyard.
Two Grad rockets that were fired into Israel, with one coming quite close to Mitzpeh Ramon, dominate Israeli coverage this morning. While one rocket made it 25 kilometers into Israeli territory, a record, the real headline-grabber was the Grad that nearly reached Mitzpeh Ramon.
As anyone who has ever been to Mitzpeh Ramon knows, it is the bustling center of, well, a whole lot of nothing. But still, it’s almost near what some would call the borderlands of civilization. And a Grad! Head for the hills.
While most papers mention that security officials believe the rockets came from Sinai (sort of a “we’re having elections over here,” reminder) Haaretz has a source that not only knows it came from Sinai, but also knows the order for the attack came from the Muslim Brotherhood, via Hamas. In a display of delegation that would make a corporation proud, the Muslim brotherhood turned to Hamas, which then turned to a Bedouin clan to carry out the attack, according to the official quoted in Haaretz.
Maariv writes that Mitzpeh Ramon residents who heard the rocket land and explode around midnight thought it was only a passing plane. Only in the morning did they realize they’d come under rocket attack. Even with the attack, residents of the Negev are hopeful their area won’t become the next Sderot. “I hope this was a one-time event,” said an area official. “We have no intention of changing our lives.”
Of course, the rockets didn’t push Egyptian elections completely off the page. Both Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel Hayom still save large front-page space for the voting happening south of the border.
Eldad Beck, reporting from Cairo for Yedioth, writes of the nervous tensions being felt around the country, and of the pessimism of the Islamist camp. “The results have been set in advance,” Beck quotes one Egyptian who voted for the Muslim Brotherhood. “The army won’t allow [Brotherhood candidate Mohammed] Morsi to win. The army will forge the results so their candidate Ahmed Shafiq will win.”
In Israel Hayom, Prof. Eyal Zisser notes that Tahrir Square did not fill with protesters in the wake of the court’s decision to void 1/3rd of the parliament, and they are not taking to the streets despite the feeling among many that Morsi won’t be allowed to win. In the end, he says, the elections are only one small step for Egypt. “The results will be the results, and the elections aren’t the end of the story, but just another step In the long path Egypt is taking toward returning stability and a strong central power” to the country.
The imminent departure of over 100 South Sudanese migrants also makes most front pages. Haaretz notes that though they were promised large stipends for agreeing to leave, on the eve of their departure some had still not received the money.
Yedioth goes more for the heartstrings than the purse strings, with two stories of children who are on the flight back to Juba. “I’ll really miss my friends from class,” one says. “They took me in and treated me very nicely.” The other child is more morose. “I’m used to living here,” the 11-year-old says. “I don’t know anything other than Israel.”
Teach a Turk, take a break
Israel Hayom reports that even though Turkey hates Israel (and vice versa) it hasn’t gone so far as to deny the Holocaust, and is even stepping up efforts to teach about the Shoah in its schools. As part of that effort, the paper reports, a delegation of Turkish teachers will take part in a Yad Vashem conference on teaching about the Holocaust in Jerusalem this week. Yad Vashem director Avner Shalev calls the inclusion of the Turks ”important” and says he hopes “in the wake of the conference we’ll see more activities from the Turkish side on Holocaust education.”
Maariv has a report on the thousand cameras keeping a constant eye on Israel’s fourth largest burg, Rishon Lezion. Dubbing it Big Brother city, the report details how residents can access the camera feeds via the Internet, and how cameras will be installed in schools and social service buildings as well, though those will be under localized supervision. “The goal is a serious improvement in the quality of life and personal security for Rishon Lezion residents, [as well as] the guarding of personal privacy,” Mayor Dov Tzur tells the paper.
In Haaretz’s op-ed page, Amir Oren wades through the minutiae of the Harpaz affair to prove how it will have a bearing on the Iran issue, writing that another similar battle could be in the offing. “[Benny] Gantz will recommend [Gadi] Eizenkot as his deputy and successor. If Barak refuses, the minister’s battles against the chief of staff will resume, with Gantz in [Gabi] Ashkenazi’s shoes. This will be revenge for the Harpaz affair and to avoid appointing a declared opponent of an attack on Iran.”
In Yedioth, Eitan Haber writes that while President Shimon Peres deserved to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, his choice should be seen as a very diplomatic kick in the tush aimed at Netanyahu. “When Obama calculated every word in his speech, his intended recipient was thousands of miles away from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. The recipient was the Prime Minister’s residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem. The impressive ceremony was meant to make Benjamin Netanyahu jealous. “