Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv lead with Thursday’s power outage that left thousands in Israel without air conditioning during a stifling heat wave. Yedioth Ahronoth repots that one of the electrical generators at Ashkelon’s Rotenberg power plant stopped working shortly after midday. The power company’s production barely met the country’s demand, and, to prevent overloading the grid, it cut supply to large portions of central Israel.
“Thousands were left without air conditioning during heavy heat,” Yedioth Ahronoth’s main headline reads.
Maariv adds that a mere two hours before the power station shut down, National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau convened a press conference and warned that the energy shortage would start to be felt as early as the coming week. “Expect planned power outages in the coming days,” he said. “We are at the peak of a heat wave, which will reach its highest point on Sunday, and we need the public’s help. Two years from now we won’t have this problem, but next summer we definitely will.”
Both papers featured adorable pictures of animals at the zoo keeping cool with frozen treats, which did little to relieve readers’ discomfort in the sweltering heat.
Hagit Ron-Rabinowitz bemoans the hot weather in Israel Hayom, saying her confidence in the superiority of the summer season is increasingly undermined. “Two weeks into July I understood the issue, I want autumn,” she writes. Despite mentioning the word hot a dozen times or more in four paragraphs, she mentions that young and old alike avoid the threatening word pairing “global warming.”
The Israeli press reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz met Thursday night in an attempt to resolve the crisis surrounding a universal enlistment bill. Haaretz writes that Kadima’s expected split from the coalition took a step forward. Maariv says that Likud and Kadima made no progress following the meeting, and in fact the gap between them has grown.
Maariv writes “it is evident that the prime minister is not prepared to accept the dictates of the Plesner report as it stands, and is even ready to pay the price of Kadima’s split from the coalition.”
Israel Hayom reports that the one thing both parties agree upon is their criticism of MK Yohanan Plesner. “Instead of going with a historic law, Plesner drew a radical line and preferred to break apart the coalition,” the paper quotes a senior Likud member saying. A senior Kadima member also criticized Plesner saying, “He has no political experience whatsoever. Everyone else from the Kadima leadership would have been able to arrive at an acceptable agreement that could have passed in the Knesset and brought ultra-Orthodox enlistment into effect.”
Yedioth Ahronoth highlights Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon’s statement Thursday saying “I am very pessimistic that we will succeed in arriving at an agreement with Kadima, because the law that they want to replace the Tal Law with is likely to cause a coalition crisis. So perhaps the coalition will shrink — but we will survive if Kadima breaks away.”
Israel Hayom columnist Matti Tuchfeld writes that the crux of the coalition crisis lies in Plesner and that both sides are calling for his ouster. “Plesner is a moral and straight person. To this day he has never been caught for improper or inappropriate conduct,” Tuchfeld writes. Plesner’s problem, he claims, is that he immodestly believes that the truth lies exclusively with him, and “that only his way will bring about ultra-Orthodox enlistment.”
Former Meretz chairman Yossi Sarid writes in Haaretz that enlisting ultra-Orthodox Israelis en masse into the IDF means an end to the army as we know it. He says he has already witnessed how modern Orthodox rabbis have become “acting commanders whose uniformed students do their bidding, and these rabbis are the ones who will give the orders on the day of judgment. The IDF is afraid of them, and they do whatever they please — and all in order to prevent ‘a rift in the nation.’”
If ultra-Orthodox civilians enlist in the military, he asks, “Who will tell them how to serve, who will dare to dictate conditions of service to them? After all, this army is not their army; to them it’s the army of the czar, who is drafting them into its ranks against their will, by force. Their first loyalty is always and in every situation reserved for Lithuania in Jerusalem, for Baghdad in Jerusalem.”
“Conscription for all, in the present situation, means dismantling the IDF,” he concludes.
Getting hotter in Jerusalem
Haaretz reports that police suspect that an unknown assailant torched the home of an Eritrean couple in Jerusalem on Thursday. Segai Timaret suffered serious burns and his pregnant partner suffered light injuries from smoke inhalation as their apartment caught on fire.
According to Haaretz Timaret’s feet were burned when he tried to stamp out the fire, but Maariv reports that his hands were severely burned.
All reports drew parallels between Thursday’s incident and another attack on a migrant family’s home in the same neighborhood a month ago.