Bitter pills to swallow
Hebrew media review

Bitter pills to swallow

The rape in Tel Aviv, fallout at Tel Aviv University due to Nakba Day, and a bittersweet victory for Hapoel Tel Aviv

Illustrative: The  Hapoel Tel Aviv Football Club (photo credit: Margalit Slovin/Flash90)
Illustrative: The Hapoel Tel Aviv Football Club (photo credit: Margalit Slovin/Flash90)

Israel is still in shock over Saturday’s brutal rape in central Tel Aviv and the arrest of a Palestinian worker who stands accused of the crime.

“They will look into his eyes,” says Israel Hayom’s headline, accompanied by a picture of the suspect’s pixelated face, referring to the fact that the two victims will be asked to identify the suspect from a line-up while police wait for DNA results. The suspect admitted to stealing the victim’s cellphones but denied accusations of rape.

Haaretz focuses its coverage on the suspect’s partial admission of involvement, and reveals that he had worked at a restaurant at the Tel Aviv Port until he was fired the day the rape occurred. The police statement to the court described the rape, calling it a random act of violence.

Yedioth Ahronoth concentrates on the anticipated identification of the suspect by the victims. Its headline reads “Looking into the face of evil.” Included in Yedioth Ahronoth’s coverage is an interview with the suspect’s coworkers and family, who offered mixed opinions. The article quotes a coworker of the suspect saying, “He was a sensitive guy, a little idiotic. You needed to explain everything five times to him. But rape? Hard to believe.”

Maariv highlights in its headline that “The suspect lived meters away from Gan Ha’ir [where the attack occurred].” The Page 6 article reports how the police finally nabbed the suspect after he had evaded capture on Saturday: while being interviewed by a detective he jumped on a bike and rode away.

In addition to the attack in Gan Ha’ir, all the papers also report a second rape in south Tel Aviv on Tuesday. According to the Haaretz report, a young woman was attacked by a group of men and raped by one of them in south Tel Aviv by the old central bus station. Police have arrested four asylum seekers from Eritrea who have denied the accusation.

Intelligent diss-appointments?

Maariv’s top story is a controversy within Military Intelligence over appointments to key positions. A spotlight has fallen on the intelligence branch of the IDF after three high-ranking officers resigned in protest of the way positions are handed out. Maariv’s headline quotes the anonymous officers, “The appointments are made like a club.” The officers said the appointments were based on personal connections, not professional ability, and warned that there was an atmosphere of rebellion spreading down the chain of command. The IDF responded to the report saying the controversy was based on rumor and the attempts to discredit senior officers are baseless.

Will smart phones become cheaper? According to a report in Israel Hayom, that is the hope of the Communication Minister Moshe Kahlon. The article applauds the minister’s recent battle for cheaper cable and Internet bundles, and reports that he intends to lower the price of smart phones. Kahlon has submitted a request to the Justice Ministry to allow more companies to import smart phones with the objective of lowering the price through increased competition.

Nakba Day

Yedioth Ahronoth has a Page 10 article about the Nakba Day demonstration at Tel Aviv University and how the “Nakba Law” could be applied to Tel Aviv University. The law, which was passed last year, states that the government can withhold funds from organizations or events that deny the principle of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” The article, entitled “Nakba, not in our school,” describes attempts by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar to apply the law to Tel Aviv University. Tel Aviv University responded saying it did not fund the event and should not be punished. 

Maariv reports on Turkey exerting pressure on the Iran in advance of next week’s Baghdad talks. The headline paraphrases Turkey’s message to Iran, “Show serious progress or Israel will attack you.” A European diplomat believes the Islamic Republic is trying to stall for time until the American election.

Nonviolent soccer news

Hapoel Tel Aviv won the National Cup last night, defeating Maccabi Haifa 2-1 in stoppage time. This is Hapoel’s third consecutive championship victory. The press point out the turbulent season for Israeli soccer, highlighted by a rash of on-field violence. Yedioth Ahronoth calls Hapoel’s victory “A bitter-tasting trophy.”

Haaretz’s editorial focuses on incoming state comptroller Yosef Shapira, urging him to continue the work of his predecessor. Though Shapira lacks an extensive career of public service, Haaretz concedes that he has an impressive judicial record and hopes that he can “strengthen the audit institution and ethical behavior that is essential to the good of the public.”

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