The fire and the fury
Hebrew media review

The fire and the fury

MKs mark Holocaust Remembrance Day (part 1) in Poland, and the PM gets set to upbraid Bennett for spoiling his cunning plan

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett during a Knesset plenum session, July 29, 2013. (photo credit: Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett during a Knesset plenum session, July 29, 2013. (photo credit: Flash90)

Yom Hashoah comes early this year, bringing with it photos of Auschwitz and Holocaust Memorials a full three months before they typically dominate the lsraeli press. Blue and white flags waving in front of Auschwitz-Birkenau’s iconic gateway with Israeli lawmakers standing at attention feature on all four of Israel’s main front pages (plus Makor Rishon, which curiously puts it below the fold, under Egypt’s el-Sissi’s impending run for the presidency).

When not covering MKs in death camps, the press addresses a range of top stories, foremost among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett’s increasingly public feud.

“Netanyahu expected to reprimand Bennett today: ‘He acted with a lack of national responsibility,'” Maariv‘s headline reads. Israel Hayom reports that the prime minister was “enraged” by Bennett’s comments about having some Israeli settlers remain in a future Palestinian state: “Bennett hurt the process of exposing Palestinian racism and anti-Semitism, he’s insolent and subversive,” it says on its front page. Yedioth Ahronoth cites a source close to the PM saying that “Bennett ruined spin intended to show the Palestinians as peace refusers. He can get up and resign.” Haaretz‘s headline runs the quote: “If it’s not comfortable for [Bennett], he can resign.” The paper says the building tension spurred by the Jewish Home party leader “threatens to turn into a deep crisis which undermines the coalition.”

Sources close to the prime minister are quoted in Israel Hayom saying that Bennett torpedoed Netanyahu’s maneuver, and “instead of letting Abbas fall into the trap, Bennett fell into the trash and harmed efforts to convince the world that the [Palestinian] Authority is infected with racism and anti-Semitism.”

According to Maariv, Likud sources said Netanyahu plans to summon Bennett for an upbraiding at his office. It quotes senior Jewish Home sources saying in response that their party leader “would be happy to meet with the prime minister whenever he’s invited in order to continue cooperating with the shared aim of concern for the security of the state of Israel and its citizens, in every place they live.”

Yedioth quotes sources close to the economics and trade minister saying that cabinet members were left completely in the dark by the prime minister about his elaborate ruse to dupe the Palestinians.

“Next time they launch a brilliant tactic, it behooves them to coordinate it with the ministers and party members,” they said.

Haaretz reports that now that former prime minister Ariel Sharon is dead, the Defense Ministry wants to seize classified military documents that he held onto in violation of the law. It reports that his family has refused to hand over the papers to the IDF archives, and that the Defense Ministry is raising the possibility of raiding the Sharon family’s Sycamore Farm in order to obtain them.

Back in Poland, Israel Hayom expresses outrage that EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day and didn’t mention the Jews.

“Today the international community remembers the victims of the Holocaust,” the paper quotes her saying. “We honor every one of those brutally murdered in the darkest period of European history. We also want to pay a special tribute to all those who acted with courage and sacrifice to protect their fellow citizens against persecution.”

Nowhere in her two-paragraph statement does she mention the Jewish people.

Yedioth Ahronoth reports that MKs who visited the death camps on Monday received a text message from Knesset director-general Ronen Plott, “Please come immediately to the crematorium next to the parking lot in Auschwitz.”

The paper chides the sender of the text message, saying, “In emotion-filled events of this sort, a momentary carelessness is likely to be interpreted in the wrong way.” While the report doesn’t note who objected to the wording of the message, one of the organizers of the event said in response that “we wanted to notify the members of the mission that they should come to the bus parking lot. How can you do that if the parking lot is next to the crematorium?”

Egyptian General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was promoted to the rank of field marshal on Monday, and was given the green light to run for the presidency in the upcoming elections. The latest turn in the three-year Egyptian revolution turns a few heads in the Israeli media. Israel Hayom reports that el-Sissi resigned his post as defense minister and that he’s expected to run for president in April.

According to Maariv, Egypt’s military leadership said in a statement that “in this historic hour, we must answer the will of the Egyptian people and support Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s run for the presidency. As he who filled the central role in stabilizing national security and successfully bringing the national referendum, he expressed a desire to act in accordance with his national commitment.”

Yedioth Ahronoth says that barring a “shocking surprise,” el-Sissi will become Egypt’s next president.

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