It’s mornings like this that make newspaper readers want to throw up their hands (or their breakfast) and head straight back to bed, to cower into a little ball until the Iranian apocalypse mercifully comes upon us.
What’s that, Maariv? You’ve decided to publish pages out of the diary of an 11-year-old girl who was gang raped. “[My parents] cried more than I did. I didn’t want to show them how upset I am. I acted like nothing had happened.”
What’s that, Yedioth Ahronoth? A high-tech CEO is stalking half the country’s little kids on the Internet at night?
What’s that, Israel Hayom? A high-tech pervert is on the loose and the sales tax is going up?
Only the normally grumbly Haaretz (!) has a front page free of faith-in-humanity-sucking news, unless you count a story about juice made from psychotropic khat leaves becoming all the rage in hip, sexy, apathetic — and now drugged — Tel Aviv.
But who can worry about pedophiles, rapists and stimulating quaffs when Tehrani officials are on their way to Baghdad for talks with the West over Iran’s nuclear program. Dum dum dum. To hear Maariv parse the upcoming meeting, the talks will do nothing to delay an Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. “Netanyahu will not let the talks influence his freedom to act,” Maariv quotes a senior source in Jerusalem saying.
Yedioth reports that a deal between Iran and the West is all but signed, and that Jerusalem is none too pleased, saying the talks are just a maneuver by Iran to buy time in their race for the bomb.
Haaretz and Yisrael Hayom report, along the same lines, that Netanyahu is urging the West not to compromise with (or give up on) Tehran. In Yisrael Hayom, commentator Yoav Limor writes that deal or no deal, everyone will continue to stick to their guns, meaning nothing much will change: “Iran doesn’t like to admit to compromise (even partial), so its leaders will still promise to destroy Israel. The West won’t believe Iran and so won’t lift sanctions on Iranian oil or the economy, and Israel will continue to see the glass half empty and refuse to believe that something good could come out of this.”
There’s the threat without, and of course the threat within du jour, which today are those rascally asylum seekers taking over South Tel Aviv. Yedioth has a handy map of where they all came from, with population estimates (34,000 from Eritrea, 16,000 from Sudan, 3,000 from the Ivory Coast and so on), and an FAQ on what their whole deal is.
Maariv reports that the 8,000th refugee this year crossed the border yesterday and by the time the ball drops on January 1, another 12,000 will be learning the joys of Interior Ministry bureaucracy. Israel Hayom devotes its man on the street feature to the issue, with most people saying it’s time for them to go back where they came from, or at least somewhere else.
Remember when Yitzhak Navon was president of Israel? The government doesn’t either, according to a Maariv report that the Education Ministry put out a pamphlet on the nation’s leaders for schools but left out the nation’s fifth figurehead-in-chief. According to the Education Ministry, the pamphlet only contains presidents and prime ministers who have since passed on, though the omission is still jarring. When asked to respond, Navon pointed out that he could have still been included with a parenthetical statement noting that “this one is still alive.”
Forget Navon, though. The real question on everyone’s minds is how much you are willing to sell naming rights of your newborn child for. A childless ultra-Orthodox couple is reportedly offering big bucks — 5,000 of them — if you name your kid Shayna Nacha after the wife’s deceased mother, according to a report in Yedioth.
Israel Hayom covers today’s election for head of the Histadrut labor federation, and Hezi Shternlicht has some harsh words for the union. “The Histadrut asks for too much from [those with] too little, on its way to failing again and again on everything in the world it tries. If you were to compare it to a body’s health, the Histadrut would be bad cholesterol in a time when workers’ rights are the good cholesterol.”
The defense does not rest
In the op-ed section, north Tel Avivian Yoav Levy uses Yedioth’s pages to come to the defense of his rich neighbors, who have been accused of being apathetic leftists who don’t contribute to the country. “Look at the wonder: Four high schools in north Tel Aviv, in which the ‘shirkers’ and ‘leftists’ study, have the highest rate of enlistment, not just in Tel Aviv but in the whole country,” he writes.
In Maariv, right-winger extraordinaire Ben-Dror Yemini takes a seeming left turn and comes to the defense of Ehud Olmert, who called for Jerusalem to be divided on Sunday. Yemini’s argument is that it’s divided anyway, and anywhere Arabs move into, Jews move out of, and anywhere Jews move into, Arabs and leftists protest and make it impossible for peaceful coexistence: “There is no need for Jews to go into an Arab neighborhood, or for Arabs to settle in Jewish neighborhoods. This is a sure-fire recipe for tension and violence.”