The burial of a slain police officer in a shooting outside Hebron dominates the front pages, but the peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians are not yet dead and buried.
Israel Hayom offers somber coverage of the funeral of Baruch Mizrahi, the man killed on Passover Eve and laid to rest on Wednesday. “Only eight years old and reciting the Kaddish,” reads its front page, referring to the slain man’s son reciting the mourner’s prayer. It reports that Mizrahi — “for whom love of the land always stood before his eyes” — was honored by a few hundred mourners, among them police chief Yohanan Danino and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.
Yedioth Ahronoth takes a similar tack, showing the widow and orphaned child of Mizrahi and the caption, “Where is daddy, in heaven?” The headline of its main coverage of Mizrahi’s burial is, “Who will make the children laugh?” with a photo of the dead man’s wife, Hadas, who took control of their car when it came under fire, was hit herself, but managed to speed away.
The paper quotes the widow’s father, who pressed on with the Seder the night Baruch Mizrahi was killed. “Itai even found the afikoman,” the piece of matzah hidden during the meal, Rabbi Haim Simons tells the paper. “When I asked him what prize he wanted, he responded, ‘I want Dad and Mom to be healthy.’ ”
As for the killer at large, Israel Hayom writes that the IDF is continuing the manhunt, but says that “already [on Tuesday] the IDF understood that it was doubtful that the lockdown and cordon on the Palestinian village of Idhna will bring about the arrest of the terrorist.” It notes that the security services are currently relying on intelligence work to catch the perpetrator.
While Haaretz shows Mizrahi’s coffin borne to the grave on the front page, its top story is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s readiness to extend the negotiations by nine months, but — in the first three months of any such talks — to discuss the borders of a future Palestinian state. Abbas told this to a delegation of Israeli MKs who visited him in the PA’s Ramallah headquarters.
Israel Hayom notes that, during the meeting with the MKs, Abbas condemned the attack that killed Mizrahi, “but only behind closed doors.” Yedioth Ahronoth quotes Abbas telling the MKs that “I condemn the attack in Tarqumia and the shooting at the family of the slain.”
The paper reports that the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet again Thursday in a bid to extend the peace talks through the end of 2014. The two sides were supposed to meet Wednesday, but the summit was pushed off until Thursday in order to allow American negotiator Martin Indyk to return and take part.
Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, is quoted by Yedioth Ahronoth as saying that the PA is interested in the extension of talks, but on its terms. It notes that Abu Rudeineh refused to elaborate on what the PA’s terms were.
Yedioth Ahronoth, however, reports that the “American liberal media” has increased its calls for US President Barack Obama to abandon the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians, “and express increasing despair about the chances of reaching a solution,” it says.
The press also warns of possible altercations between Israeli security forces and Palestinians, because Thursday marks Palestinian Prisoner Day. IDF troops are on high alert across the West Bank, Israel Hayom reports.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the army stepped up its forces around Hebron because of the Jewish “exceptional prayer” gathering in the West Bank city on Wednesday. Instead of the expected tens of thousands, however, only a few hundred people showed up. It reports that those who decided to show up — despite the recent terror attack — said they weren’t concerned about such violence.
“We came specifically now in order to show that we’re here,” Shahar, a resident of Gedera told the paper. “We have no other option. When didn’t they attack us?”
The South Korean ferry that sank with scores of students aboard makes only a small splash in the Israeli press. Haaretz runs a small photo of the sinking ship’s hull on its Page 1. The paper notes that, at the time of publication, a staggering 282 passengers were still unaccounted for.
Israel Hayom sticks the story on Page 9 and runs a headline that reads, “The students were told to remain in their seats, and were trapped in the depths.” Yedioth Ahronoth relegates the “Children’s disaster” to Page 10, and reports that, of the 459 passengers aboard, 325 of them were high school students.