The arrest of Kiryat Malachi Mayor Motti Malka, his son and several others on suspicion of rape, extortion, taking bribes, and breach of trust made the front page of every Israeli paper. Yedioth Ahronoth writes that he is suspected of turning a female city employee into “a sex toy,” or by Maariv’s estimation “his sex slave.”
Haaretz reports that according to police Malka and his deputy Yossi Suleimani allegedly raped their subordinate repeatedly over a long period of time and threatened to expose her to her community should she go to the police.
Maariv, Yedioth Ahronoth, and Haaretz do not neglect to mention Kiryat Malachi’s former mayor and former president Moshe Katsav who was also convicted of rape last year, while Israel Hayom highlights this in the first paragraph. Yedioth Ahronoth says that Suleimani and Katsav were friends and that, before Katsav’s incarceration, he and Suleimani prayed together in synagogue.
The outrage over Gadi Vichman’s murder on Friday night in Beersheba has not subsided. On the contrary, news that the policewoman who claimed to have responded to Vichman’s noise complaint lied about investigating the scene has reinflamed heated reporting.
Maariv reports that the policewoman and city investigator who answered the emergency call claimed security officials “arrived on the scene and, seeing the park empty, didn’t leave the vehicle, reported all was quiet, and left to deal with another incident.”
Police chief Yohanan Danino said that an investigation found they had lied and their report was forged. Haaretz quotes him saying that the incident constituted “a serious trust problem, and the officers didn’t even arrive on the scene. I am not certain this would have changed the event’s outcome, but I’ve decided to suspend the policewoman immediately.”
Vichman’s widow, according to Yedioth Ahronoth’s headline, disagrees with Danino’s assumption that police negligence was not necessarily a factor his murder. “The policewoman lied, the patrol car didn’t come, and Gadi was murdered,” it reads. Israel Hayom calls the policewoman’s falsehood a “Lie of life and death,” and asks “Was it possible to prevent Gadi Vichman’s murder?”
Natan Zahavi writes in Maariv that “of late, [Israeli] police regard the public as a nuisance.” The Beersheba policewoman in question “is not the only one who didn’t arrive at the scene — whether because of work overload or because of basic misunderstanding that human life depends on her and her companions in cases of thuggery.” He says lest something is done to stop miscreants while they’re young, they will begin their criminal careers and blossom into professional crooks.
Itzik Saban says that the Israel Police must be a stronger, faithful, and straightforward force if it wants to gain the public’s trust. This week’s incident in which one policewoman lied “ruined years of work and will likely further alienate the public’s trust.”
The political earthquake caused by Kadima and Likud’s formation of a national unity government on Monday night is emitting aftershocks. The Knesset voted on Wednesday to approve the coalition deal, but that session was fraught with accusations and condemnations, and “Mofaz was turned into a target for ridicule.”
The harshest words came from MK Benjamin Ben Eliezer (Labor), who is quoted in Maariv saying that “today’s political system, pardon my Hebrew, is garbage. Just garbage.” Although his next comment was stricken from the Knesset record, he is nonetheless quoted in Yedioth Ahronoth telling Mofaz, “You preferred to sell your political soul to the devil, and he is the only one who profited from it.”
Before the vote to approve the coalition, MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) asked Netanyahu to disclose any “secret agreements” made between the new coalition partners. What followed was a cycle of calculated statements by Prime Minister Netanyahu, consultations with his legal counsel, and follow-up inquiries by opposition MKs.
The Knesset eventually voted in favor of the coalition accord 71-23, but Haaretz says Knesset members estimate that “the secret deal proves that the coalition will change” and that Netanyahu promised other ministerial positions to Kadima. Had he announced those agreements, “it would have shaken and broken up the coalition already.”
As a result of the deal’s successful enactment, Kadima committee chairman and party co-founder Haim Ramon resigned on Wednesday. Yedioth Ahronoth paraphrases him saying that “Kadima has turned into Likud B.” Maariv writes that the move was expected because Ramon is Livni’s close ally, and quotes him saying that Kadima “is no longer the centrist party I established.”
Israel Harel writes in Haaretz that the Netanyahu-Mofaz deal was a move to provide the prime minister a safety net against ideological radicals in Likud. “Without this unholy deal with Mofaz, Netanyahu would have trouble surviving the demolition of Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood, the uprooting of the Migron outpost and the continued freeze on the settlements,” he says.
But now, backed by Kadima moderates and with the hard-right Feiglinites undermined, Netanyahu “will even be able to finally bury the bill to legalize the settlement outposts.” He claims that the prime minister’s policies will shift towards the centrist “path of Ariel Sharon, the architect and overseer of the uprooting from Gaza.”
Hamas vs. Islamic Jihad
Buried on page 5 of Haaretz is a story about Hamas founding a new unit dedicated to preventing rocket fire at Israel. The paper writes that the unit’s mission is to eliminate and arrest Palestinian terrorist squads belonging to other organizations.
The 300-man strong force is to operate day and night, primarily on the Israeli border, and is authorized to use lethal force against those who resist arrest or fire at the Hamas men. The article’s author, Avi Issacharoff, writes that “relations between Hamas in Gaza and Israel have never seemed closer.”