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Hebrew media review

A break from Bibi

For the first time in what feels like months, the PM and his wife are noticeably absent from the front pages of Israel’s print media

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Water rises in a neighborhood after Hurricane Irma brought floodwaters to Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Water rises in a neighborhood after Hurricane Irma brought floodwaters to Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

For the first time in what feels like months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are noticeably absent from the front pages of Israel’s major Hebrew newspapers on Wednesday.

Other than the reports of the devastation that Hurricane Irma wrought on Florida and the Caribbean in recent days, the main dailies have vastly diverging approaches to yesterday’s news.

Yedioth Ahronoth on its front page features an exclusive look inside the recently discovered diary of Gilad Shaer, one of the three Israeli teenagers who was abducted and killed by Palestinian terrorists in 2014.

“I have finally found something strong in me,” the teenager wrote in the weeks before his death. “A force of life, that’s what I’ll call it.”

“Its expressed in great joy and love… for my family and friends. I have something inside me that infinitely wants the best for those around me. That brings me happiness.”

His parents called finding Gil-Ad’s diary “a miracle,” telling the paper that it was a comfort to them knowing how happy their son was.

Bat-Galim Shaer with her son Gil-ad Shaer, who was kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian terrorists in June, 2014. (Courtesy)

“Its an enormous miracle, it could have just as easily been thrown out,” his mother Bat-Galim says. “You can really feel his joy and love, almost as if Gil-Ad was at peace with his death.”

In its opinion pages, a Yedioth columnist takes aim at climate change deniers, including US President Donald Trump for his refusal to address the phenomenon.

In light of the two devastating hurricanes that walloped parts of Texas and Florida several days apart, Nadav Eyal warns that “something dramatic is happening.”

Eyal, a foreign correspondent for Channel 10 News, says the global issue raises important questions for Israel.

“Climate change in real and a dramatic phenomenon,” he writes. “As we’ve seen, the implications are not just relating to weather, but to economics and industry as well.”

“There are some issues that the free market will fix by itself, but given Israel’s location and size, it urgently needs a national plan to deal with climate change,” Eayl says. “Planning in this matter isn’t a luxury, but a necessity.”

Accompanying Eyal’s op-ed is a biting political cartoon of an unconcerned Trump overlooking a flooded city, telling his distraught assistant not to worry about rebuilding funds.

“We’ll just take the money from the budget to fight climate change,” he says.

Haaretz leads its Wednesday paper with the rising cost of back-to-school expenses along with reports that Hamas has expressed willingness to negotiate a possible unity government with the Palestinian Authority.

In a column, Nehemia Shtrasler attempts to shed some light on why Netanyahu remains relatively popular despite the increasing corruption allegations building against him.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (r) and his wife Sara board the plane to fly to Latin America for a 10-day state trip on September 10, 2017. (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

Shtrasler argues that Israelis are willing to put up with rising costs of living and a corrupt government as long as the economy continues to grow.

“He [Netanyahu] knows full well what all of us ought to understand: that man is first and foremost homo economicus,” he writes. “When his economic situation is good, he doesn’t want to replace the government.”

Add to that the relative political calm in the region, Shtrasler says its clear why Netanyahu and his Likud party are slated to win 30 or more Knesset seats in an election: “Its the economy, stupid.”

Meanwhile, Yisrael Hayom leads its front page on Wednesday with its own exclusive: the first-ever use of the so-called anti-boycott law, which penalizes organizations and individuals calling for a a boycott of Israel or the settlements.

According to the free daily, Israel plans to punish Amnesty International for its recent campaign calling for a boycott of settlement-made products.

The report says that Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon will summon members of the NGO for a hearing over its summer campaign titled: “Israel’s Occupation: 50 Years of Dispossession,”

Amnesty’s Israel branch stands to lose its tax exempt status under the legislation that was pushed by right-wing and pro-settlement coalition members.

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