After a week of making top headlines, the conclusion of the general strike yesterday only made it to the front page of two of the newspapers this morning. Maariv hails the deal struck between the Finance Ministry and the labor union as “a historic agreement that will improve the lives of 100,000 subcontracted workers,” while Haaretz offers the more subdued “The strike is over: only a partial achievement for the workers.”
With the strike behind us, Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel Hayom both focus on foreign affairs, dedicating half of their front page to the violent riots in Greece over expected cuts to state benefits.
Like newspapers the world over, in the Israeli papers too, much press is given to the passing of pop star Whitney Houston, with all four of the local dailies featuring her on the front page and expressing sorrow for the loss of the troubled diva.
Another story shared by all the papers this morning is the Cabinet’s decision to approve for legislation a new bill criminalizing the purchase of sex services from prostitutes. Arguments for and against the controversial bill feature on the inside pages and in the opinion sections.
Maariv takes a deeper look onto the contradicting claims of the Defense Ministry and Finance Ministry over the degree to which the defense budget has been affected by Treasury cutbacks, listing the areas in which the army has had to skimp, including weapons development, training exercises and travel expenses. Maariv features the Finance Ministry’s response on Page 1, in which the ministry rebukes the claims, saying the defense budget is actually higher than ever before.
Yedioth Ahronoth, on its front page, urges adults to inoculate themselves against childhood diseases, like measles and chicken pox. The article, based on a Health Ministry report, claims that the effects of inoculations fade over time.
Israel Hayom’s Page 1 includes yesterday’s Arab League call for an international peacekeeping mission to Syria and the appointment of a new CEO for Bank Leumi.
Haaretz shares many of the stories mentioned above, as well as an exclusive story quoting military sources that said the planned evacuation of the illegal Migron settlement next month cannot be carried out as planned. Hopes that the settlers would be accommodated by the construction of a new settlement nearby seem dashed as experts say there is little chances that the new construction would be approved in time.
The inside of all the papers dedicate large spreads to the strike-ending deal signed yesterday, with in-depth analysis of the strike’s achievements. Special mention is made of the fact that the deal does not apply to 15,000 teachers.
The Jewish Nostradamus
On its back page, Maariv reports on a 400-year-old Jewish manuscript that prophesied Armageddon starting with a war at the Strait of Hormuz. A passage in the book “Kli Paz” (golden vessel) by Syrian Rabbi Shmuel Laniado predicts that the war to end all wars will start at the place where Iran is threatening to hold a standoff with the West today.
Yedioth Ahronoth reports on a successful arbitration between Jewish and Arab students from Safed. A year after two Jewish youths set fire to cars belonging to Arab students during a spate of racial violence in the city, the paper features a photo of them all hugging after a series of mediation meetings with welfare officials.
On Page 18, Yedioth Ahronoth quotes US lawyer Alan Dershowitz saying: “Israel has legal justification to attack Iran.” The famous defense attorney made the statement during a lecture to a Jewish audience in Florida yesterday.
On the back page, Yedioth reports on an Israeli victory in an agricultural competition in Berlin. Israeli-developed seedless peppers beat out the Dutch-made purple broccoli to win the innovation of the year award.
Israel Hayom reports on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rare visit yesterday to the Supreme Court in order to bid farewell to outgoing Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. The headline, which quotes Beinisch saying: “I knew you wouldn’t allow the court to be harmed,” is sure to raise eyebrows as the last few months have seen tensions between the branches of government regularly increasing.
Haaretz reports on a new bill passed by the Cabinet yesterday offering tax reductions for what it describes as “pro-settlement donations.” The bill, offering a 35 percent write-off for donations towards establishing new communities in the Negev, the Galilee and the West Bank, is being slammed by critics for what they perceive as ideological bias.
Haaretz also writes about the formation of a new monitoring body for the state prosecutor’s office. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced the move yesterday, but there are questions as to how effective the oversight will actually be, since he refuses to let it be done by an external body.
Columnists respond to the strike resolution
Momi Dahan (Maariv): “There is still a long way to go, but the agreement shows that the Israeli political system is responding to the public’s authentic desire for social change”
Gideon Eshet (Yedioth Ahronoth): “Yesterday’s result is a victory by knockout for the government. It paid in cash and in working conditions for the union’s folding on the principle of ending subcontract labor.”
Uriel Lyn (Israel Hayom): “[Histadrut Labor Federation chairman Ofer] Eini shouldn’t be disappointed with the strike’s results since the subcontracted workers, for whose benefit he launched the strike, ended up with significant achievements.”
Avirama Golan (Haaretz): “The large and intimidating general strike, which turned into a barely perceptible mini-strike, has given rise to a new reality, one that has done well by some subcontracted workers but has also whitewashed the practice of using such workers in the first place.”