Today is International Women’s Day and photos of women grace the front pages of all the Hebrew newspapers this morning.
Yedioth Ahronoth features a photo of Israel’s newly crowned beauty queen. Shani Hazan, a 19-year-old soldier from Kiryat Ata, won the title at the end of a glitzy ceremony in Haifa last night. Her plans: to represent Israel proudly at the Miss Universe contest and to develop a career in show business after the army.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, featured on the front page of Haaretz, could have probably done without this particular front-page coverage. The results of a Haaretz poll show that under her leadership Kadima would gain only 10 Knesset seats (out of 120) in the next elections, and for the first time predict that her main political rival, former chief of General Staff Shaul Mofaz, could draw more voters to the party (12) than her. According to the poll, if elections were held now, Netanyahu would be the big winner, gaining 37 seats. The poll also reveals that 58 percent of the population think Israel should not launch a strike on Iran independent of the US.
The woman whose photo is featured on the front page of Israel Hayom is the murdered Nurit Maoz, shown next to her husband Noah, also murdered. The couple’s son Daniel is standing trial for killing his parents, but in court yesterday, for the first time, he pointed a finger at his twin brother, accusing him of being the real culprit.
Maariv displays a large photo of four young female IDF officers in honor of Women’s Day. The four all serve on Israel’s front lines, in the Nahal Brigade, currently stationed in the Gaza region, and are described as tough commanders despite being the “little girls” at home.
Women aside, Iran continues to lead all coverage in Israel. In Yedioth and Israel Hayom, the main headlines relate to evidence from satellite images that ostensibly proves that Iran conducted experiments with nuclear weapons. Maariv leads with reports of a deal struck between Israel and the US during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit, in which Israel would postpone an attack on Iran (at least until after the US elections in November) in exchange for receiving the US-made weapons and equipment necessary for such a strike. The story quotes “Western sources” as saying this was the package offered to Netanyahu by Obama.
Yedioth continues its close coverage of the “Big Brother” drugging scandal. The preview of the weekend magazine feature promises to shed light on the affair in which participants of the widely popular reality TV show accused the network of medicating them with psychiatric drugs, supposedly to improve their performance and increase ratings on the show that pitches participants against each other in a fishbowl-like environment.
Haaretz’s front page is rounded out with a story on the newly launched iPad, a Druze couple making history by being the first of their sect to join a kibbutz, and a story on a social justice-themed Purim parade led by the heads of last summer’s mass-protest movement.
Will Tel Aviv receive a major face lift in the upcoming years? According to a Page 10 Yedioth story, there are plans for the large military base located in the heart of the city, known as the Kirya, to be largely removed by the end of the decade. Office towers and shopping and entertainment complexes are planned to take the place of the many military facilities currently taking up room in one of the country’s prime real estate locales.
On Page 16 Yedioth highlights Israelis’ ranking in Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires. The highest ranked Israeli is Idan Ofer, who, with an estimated worth of $6.2 billion, ranks 161st in the world. He is followed by Benny Steinmetz, in 169th place, with $5.9 billion, and Stef Wertheimer, in 255th place, with a mere $4.2 billion.
Maariv dedicates a two-page spread to International Women’s Day, revealing statistics on the lifestyle of Israeli women. According to the report there are 2,836,100 women above the age of 15 in the country. Women’s average salaries stand at NIS 6,386 a month (compared to NIS 9,720 a month for men), 17 percent of women smoke, 66% are interested in losing weight, 42% have driver’s licenses and 11% suffer from depression. A vast majority of women (89%) say they are satisfied with their lives.
Israel Hayom looks at the downside of Purim, reporting on two children who were injured yesterday as a result of playing with fireworks. The two young boys, one from Jerusalem and one from Tiberias, suffered injuries to their eyes after playing with the contraband items. Police have issued a reminder that the sale of fireworks is illegal and warned that in the hands of children, they can lead to serious harm.
Haaretz reports on a new experiment attempting to bring scientists into government ministries. According to international studies, policymakers and the public tend not to trust scientific discoveries that draw conclusions calling on people to change their day-to-day behavior. The Israel experiment, based on a larger one in the US, aims for scientists to closely follow government work in their areas of expertise, in order to help influence decision making and better understand how to approach the public with their discoveries.
Boos and kudos on Netanyahu’s AIPAC showing
Yael Paz Melamed writes an op-ed in Maariv taking a position against AIPAC participants’ apparent wholehearted approval of the prime minister’s combative speech. “If I were a Jewish American lucky enough to be one of the 14,000 delegates who listened excitedly to Israel’s prime minister’s speech, I would have added two extra standing ovations. I might have even shed a few tears. What do I care? It’s not me who has to pay the price for his warmongering,” writes Paz Melamed bitterly, arguing that speaking before Americans at AIPAC, Netanyahu could skirt over all the answers to tough questions he owes Israelis.
In Haaretz, Israel Harel takes the other side and argues that Netanyahu did well and that it is only the Left’s automatic hatred for the man that prevents it from acknowledging his success. “Had Netanyahu made up his mind to engage in a preemptive strike, he would not have left Jerusalem. He went to Washington to bring pressure to bear and not to suffer pressure. If he succeeds, then our work, as the sit-quietly-and-don’t-act choir chants, will be done for us by others. Could one hope for a better result than that?” asks Harel.
In Yedioth Ahronoth, Guy Bechor warns against getting involved in the Syrian crisis, even by providing the people there with humanitarian aid. “It’s a slippery slope. In Lebanon too we started by offering simple humanitarian aid to a country in civil war and ended with 18 years of war and a thousand dead soldiers,” writes Bechor. Bechor claims that Israel should stand back and watch from a safe distance — as Syria’s other neighbors seem happy to do.
In Israel Hayom, Dr. Aviad Hacohen writes about the dangers of intermarriage among world Jews. Citing 90% intermarriage rates in South America and 50% rates elsewhere, Hacohen writes: “This phenomenon, which some call ‘the small holocaust,’ should make any responsible Jewish leader lose sleep. Instead of founding new organizations and opening new synagogues, that will only serve to fan the flames of discord in the communities and further increase the number of salary earners (scandalous salaries in some cases) in Jewish organizations. What is needed is comprehensive treatment of the ongoing loss of the Jewish people and additional investment of energies towards Jewish education and immigration to Israel.”