The controversy surrounding Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner’s attack on a Danish protester dominates the front pages again today.
Maariv’s headline summarizes the IDF’s investigation, “Remove the hitting colonel from his position.” Inside, the two-page spread covers the preliminary military police investigation and its interview with Eisner, who reportedly stated, “I was wrong.” The main article goes on to say that IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz is expected to receive the results of the investigations but will only decide on Eisner’s military future after a police inspection is concluded. A side article focuses on a letter signed by 83 officers and reserve soldiers in support of the lieutenant colonel.
Haaretz’s under-the-fold article focuses on the investigation and the official request from Denmark for clarification of the incident. The Danish foreign minister has requested of Israel an official account of the incident. The article also states Eisner acted against orders by trying to break up the demonstration without proper support.
Both Israel Hayom and Yedioth Ahronoth include front-page pictures of the officer striking the protester with his weapon. Yedioth’s headline is a quote from Eisner, “I was wrong, but I was attacked first.” Yedioth states that IDF’s cameras on the scene were turned off because the batteries were dead. Yedioth also covers the support that Eisner is receiving from his soldiers in a separate article with a picture of a soldier throwing a bicycle off the road.
Return of Iran
Iran climbed back to its prominent position in the news cycle today, with both Israel Hayom and Haaretz giving front-page real estate to the ongoing nuclear story.
Israel Hayom reports on its front page that 12 Iranian rocket scientists were present at North Korea’s recent attempt at launching a satellite. Israel Hayom bases its reporting on diplomatic sources speaking to the South Korean news agency “Yonhap.” The paper boasts that three weeks earlier it reported that the new North Korean missile was based on Iranian technology, and now the new report confirms that the two countries are working together.
Haaretz’s top story is the recent diplomatic tension between Obama and Netanyahu. Netanyahu stated (with US Senator Joe Lieberman by his side) that his first impression was that Iran had received a “freebie” from the US by allowing talks to continue in Baghdad. Obama took exception and reacted to Netanyahu’s statement, saying, ”Iran has not received anything from us, except for sanctions.”
Also receiving major coverage in the papers today is the upcoming Holocaust Remembrance Day. Maariv’s front-page picture shows high-ranking officers visiting Yad Vashem in Jerusalem with the headline, “For 4 million, there is a name.” Inside the coverage tells how Yad Vashem has spent over 50 years collecting names of Holocaust victims and just recently added the four millionth name.
In another article on the subject, Maariv reports on a study that the sending high school students to Poland to view the concentration camps causes psychological problems for the youth. The symptoms spotted by researchers in youth included depression, anxiety, hallucinations and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Yedioth’s Page 2 story focuses on how starting next year, high school students can matriculate in history by listening and recording testimonies of Holocaust survivors. The article says many survivors are still eager to tell their stories.
Haaretz has a disturbing story on Page 3 about a reported gang rape on a Tel Aviv beach to which police failed to respond. The rape reportedly occurred in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses, including the wait staff of a nearby restaurant. Only one person called police, who did not arrive on the scene.
Sara Netanyahu is also in the news as a trial based on a lawsuit filed by her former housekeeper Lillian Peretz, began yesterday. The lawsuit alleges that the first lady created unfair working conditions and embarrassed the housekeeper. During the testimony, there were outbursts from both sides.
Israel Hayom covers today’s expected meeting between Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Based on a letter from PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the discussion are expected to focus on creating a groundwork for future negotiations, including 1967 borders, settlement freezes and freeing of Palestinian prisoners. The meeting comes after Abbas warned Netanyahu that further delays in negotiations could make the PA irrelevant.
Maariv reports that the bridge leading to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem could threaten the recent quiet, as it needs to be fixed. The wooden bridge, which according the Jerusalem municipal authorities is in desperate need of repairs, has been a flashpoint of contention. Most recently, when it closed five months ago for work it caused an international outcry that caused Netanyahu to step in and cancel the repairs.
In the opinion pages, Haaretz’s op-ed focuses on the Eisner incident and politicians’ reaction to it. The piece states while Netanyahu and IDF Chief of General Staff Gantz were quick to react to the incident, it is the political leadership that created an atmosphere for an incident like this to occur. Labeling demonstrators like those involved in the “flytilla,” as anarchists and provocateurs, they restrict the rights of those people to protest. The piece concludes by stating that people should have the right to protest against the occupation and return home safely.