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Hebrew media review

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Israel prepares for the Mavi Marmara report; the refugee problem goes to Eilat; and Peres goes to Washington.

Together at last? Negotiations aim to replace the Tal Law (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Together at last? Negotiations aim to replace the Tal Law (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

More than two years have passed since the raid on a Gaza flotilla killed nine Turkish citizens. Israel’s state comptroller is expected to release a report on the incident on Wednesday. This report has been in the works for months and three of Israel’s papers put the headline on its front page.

Despite the front-page headlines, Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv both bury very brief stories in their back pages. Only Israel Hayom puts the story on Page 2. Its article is brief, and notes that the 150-page report, now released, is expected to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the rest of the security council for inadequate preparation.

“Quiet, [we are] expelling,” reads Haaretz’s main headline, which focuses on the ongoing operation to deport South Sudanese migrants. The article concentrates on a day in Eilat, the Israeli city with the highest percentage of African refugees. Thus far over 100 South Sudanese have been arrested in Eilat, but with no lack of complications.

Haaretz points out that the immigration officers can tell who is African and who isn’t but they “can’t distinguish between North and South Sudanese. One [arrested refugee] turn out to be an Israeli Ethiopian.”

Maariv’s main story focuses on how South Sudanese prisoners have been released from jail in advance of their deportation, and the round-up operation continues to arrest more refugees. Ben-Dror Yemini argues that the current operation is just window dressing and doesn’t actually solve the problem.

“It is time that policymakers understand that the rush to Israel is the result of excellent conditions here, relatively speaking,” Yemini says. Israel’s success draws refugees, and expelling some will not stem the tide. He suggests that in order to solve the refugee problem, refugees must not be allowed to enter the country but if they manage to enter then they should not be allowed to work.

Yedioth Ahronoth’s main story deals with the current negotiations to replace the Tal Law and draft the ultra-Orthodox population into the IDF. The paper reports that the tentative outline is that yeshivas will be given exemptions but will still have to meet annual recruitment quotas. The plan’s drafters believe this will increase ultra-Orthodox enlistment in the IDF by thousands in the next decade. Some aspects of the proposal are still being debated, including the tracking, supervision, and punishment of violators.

Crime and punishment

The Justice Ministry issued a legal memorandum Tuesday suggesting the formation of multiple gradations of murder offenses, with suitable sentencing reform.

Israel Hayom writes that “the revolutionary change in the law is that criminal indifference [to whether a victim lives or dies] is now included in the basic murder category.” Also included in the changes is a clause for aggravated murder to carry a mandatory life sentence.

Maariv reports on Page 6 that the negotiations between Givat Ulpana residents and the government are deteriorating. The article states that the Ulpana residents are angry at the government’s proposal to move the neighborhood and are preparing to stay and fight the government expulsion.

A gruesome picture of a crime scene on Haaretz’s Page 10 tops its coverage of a murder in the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station. A 30-year-old woman was found brutally beaten in a stall of the women’s restrooms and died of her wounds thereafter. According to the article, police are reviewing the security footage from the bus station but no arrests have been made.

Maariv reports that there is a revolution under way in Israel’s academia: students will be able to enroll in university without a high school diploma or 12 years of study. The Higher Education Board released a statement lowering the acceptance threshold for three-month college prep courses, allowing more people to register for them. Once completed, students will be eligible to enroll in college or university.

Peres has his day

US President Barack Obama will present President Shimon Peres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday. The press began covering the ceremony a few days ago, with most of the coverage focusing on Peres’s repeated attempts to free spy Jonathan Pollard. Yedioth Ahronoth quotes Peres on the issue, “I will ask Obama to act compassionately.”

Moshe Arens writes in Haaretz that, referring to the imbroglio surrounding the Givat Ulpana neighborhood, “sometimes the law is a ass.”

“Conflicting claims to ownership of land are not uncommon in areas where boundaries have changed over time,” Arens says. “Blame the lawyers. They are the ones who created the mess, which won’t end well.”

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