This weekend’s rain may have signaled the changing of the seasons, but the barrage of rockets from Gaza is a reminder that some things remain the same.
Yedioth Ahronoth leads with the headline “Circle of fire,” with a picture of scared Ashkelon residents running for cover. The paper does a complete recap of the weekend’s events, including a terror attack on an IDF armored vehicle that injured four soldiers, one seriously, on Saturday. Yedioth provides an illustration of the attack on the vehicle, showing that it was on the Gazan side of the border fence, in an area where the IDF regularly operates. Yedioth includes a short story on a text message that one of the lightly wounded soldiers sent to his parents from inside the jeep that said, “I’m OK.”
In an opinion piece, Alex Fishman laments Israel’s position in Gaza and comments that “almost every two weeks, in a constant cycle, we deal with another flare-up of violence.” Fishman gives the government three options for dealing with the latest outbreak: “return Israel’s deterrence by a massive show of force; continue the current policy, and try to contain the violence and force residents of the south into their shelters every two weeks; or call on Hamas to reach a long-term hudna [ceasefire].” Fishman takes the government and IDF officers to task for their operational strategy of sending vehicles into the Gazan side of the border, and concludes: “We need to think twice before we issue statements that say ‘we won’t take anymore,’ ‘we’ll respond,’ and ‘we’ll get them.’”
Israel Hayom uses an unattributed quote as its front-page headline: “It’s time to strike.” The paper’s source in Hamas says Hamas blames Israel for the escalation and the rocket fire was in retaliation for the IDF firing at them.
Maariv goes with the more descriptive headline “Tens of rockets fired at southern towns.” The paper provides a short timeline of incidents along the border in the past two weeks, including Thursday’s discovery of a tunnel full of explosives and the injuring of IDF officer Ziv Shilon on October 24.
Attacks of another kind
Aside from covering the Gaza situation, Haaretz reports on disturbing police figures showing that “one out of three Israeli women will experience sexual assault at some point in her life.” The report compiled reported crime statistics against women, including murder, theft, and sexual assaults, with results broken down by ethnicity, age, and marital status. Rotem Peleg, director of the Public Security Ministry, said “the results of this report will be used to better understand this phenomenon and the needs of different segments of Israeli society, including women.”
On the election front, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson writes an opinion piece in the paper he owns, Israel Hayom, responding to accusations that Ehud Olmert leveled against him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The allegation, according to Adelson, was that “Netanyahu intervened in the US elections on behalf of an American millionaire [Adelson].”
Adelson says that no only does Olmert not have any proof to back his accusations, but that Netanyahu is not easy to manipulate and “is his own man.” Aside from bringing up Olmert’s corruption trials, Adelson deploys the “some of best friends are Democrats” line and references his friendship with Alan Dershowitz, an Obama supporter. He states: “Netanyahu did not obey my orders any more than my other friends did.” In conclusion, he urges Olmert to come up with more substantial accusations. “Olmert has the right to conduct a vigorous election campaign, but he will have to come up with something more than a conspiracy theory if he wants to remove Netanyahu from his position.”
Only one way?
Maariv summarizes an article in the Sunday Times in which former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz is quoted as saying that the only way to effectively end the Iranian nuclear program is with a nuclear strike. According to the Maariv summary, the IDF has concluded that a conventional strike on Iran’s facilities would end in failure. Halutz told the paper, “I hope Bibi isn’t crazy enough to seriously consider [a nuclear attack].”
Yedioth provides a complete rundown of Israel’s first truly wet weekend of the season, including flash floods that shut down the airport in Eilat, downed trees in Haifa, and showered lightning on the Sea of Galilee. The northern part of Israel received the most rain, with Ein Hashofet recording 87 millimeters or rain (3.4 inches), Tel Aviv getting 24 millimeters (almost an inch) and Jerusalem getting just 3.5 millimeters (one tenth of an inch). While the weekend may have ended, the rain isn’t expected to abate, with more precipitation projected for Sunday and Monday.