A year on, saluting Israel’s fallen
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Hebrew media review

A year on, saluting Israel’s fallen

The Hebrew press marks the anniversary of the Gaza summer war, while viewing the Iran deal as being as good as signed

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin attend a ceremony marking one year since Operation Protective Edge at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on July 6, 2015.(Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin attend a ceremony marking one year since Operation Protective Edge at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on July 6, 2015.(Haim Zach/GPO)

As the world powers and Iran approach yet another self-imposed deadline for the nuclear talks, the Hebrew papers on Tuesday nonchalantly acknowledge the talks and impending deal while focusing the bulk of their coverage on the one-year anniversary of last summer’s Israel-Hamas conflict.

That is, for the most part. Israel Hayom and Yedioth Ahronoth dedicate their first pages to Monday’s memorial ceremony, a slew of military promotions, and the creation of a new commando unit, while Haaretz briefly mentions it on page 10.

“A year of longing,” reads Yedioth’s headline, which solemnly describes the ceremony at Mount Herzl. “At the end of the official memorial service marking one year to Operation Protective Edge, Rachelle Fraenkel stood on the side and watched the bereaved parents,” it reports, referering to the mother of the of the slain teenagers in a West Bank kidnapping last June. “Her Naftali is not listed among the casualties of the operation, but the mother of one of the three teenagers kidnapped and killed in June 2014 felt that she must pay tribute to the memory of those who won’t come back. ‘We owe those that fell,’ she says quietly. ‘That’s why I’m here,'” it reports.

Apart from the families of the fallen soldiers and five civilians killed during last summer’s conflict, the service was attended by many of the wounded soldiers, it writes.

“Even before the senior officers went up to speak, Lt. Col. Shai Siman Tov moved the audience. During the operation, he was the commander of the Golani’s twelfth battalion, and during the well-known incident in Shejaiya he was critically injured. Yesterday, against all odds, he went up on stage — in a wheelchair, wearing a uniform, a brown beret on his head — and said the Yizkor prayer in the memory of his brothers in arms who fell,” it writes.

In Israel Hayom’s report, Siman-Tov is similarly spotlighted.

“It’s hard to pin down one dominant feeling that will capture the essence of Operation Protective Edge,” it reports. “The pain is as strong as the sense of security, the bereavement intertwined with a sense of national unity. And yesterday, at the formal ceremony marking a year since the operation, there was a symbol expressing all this at once: the former commander of the Golani twelfth brigade Lt. Col. Shai Siman-Tov, who was critically hurt in Shejaiya, said the Yizkor prayer — in a wheelchair.”

Yedioth’s Yossi Yehoshua dwells on the promotions for commanders Ghassan Alian and Ofer Winter, announced on Monday. Both commanders have been criticized for their conduct, he writes — Ghassan for the Shejaiya calamity in which 13 Golani soldiers were killed in an unarmored vehicle, Winter for his overtly religious pep talk last summer. However, “given a choice between officers who haven’t proven themselves in the battlefield, but for some reason were promoted by former IDF chief of staff Gantz, and officers that may have made mistakes but exhibited bravery, initiative… and were promoted by [current chief of staff Gadi] Eizenkot — the choice is obvious,” he writes.

Meanwhile, Haaretz anticipates a brief extension of the Iran nuclear negotiations, but expects a deal will be announced in the coming days.

“The nuclear talks in Vienna are likely to extend beyond the planned deadline tonight due to the Western powers’ opposition to several Iranian demands. However, the assessment is that the Iranians are intentionally reverting to brinkmanship, and in the end, the sides will manage to reach a deal in the current round of talks, until this weekend.”

“It seems the Iranians are seeking to stretch out the talks to clarify to their public that they fought for every detail,” the report continues. “Last weekend, the members of the delegation began interviews with the official TV stations to express how insistent they were, and how they managed to extract many Western concessions.”

With the agreement all but a done deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “preparing for a world war,” the paper’s Barak Ravid writes.

“This offensive will not involve jet fighters descending on the nuclear facilities in Natanz or Fordo, but rather a frontal charge on Capitol Hill. Netanyahu’s goal was and remains to enlist enough members from both houses of Congress to vote against the nuclear deal with Iran when President Obama puts it on the docket,” he writes.

“An Israeli source noted that Netanyahu seems optimistic about his chances. According to the source, Netanyahu recently told Jewish-American leaders that the battle is not lost. Those who heard the prime minister’s remarks say that it is hard to tell if he actually believes his own words or is only using the rhetoric to try and rally the troops. Either way, Netanyahu conveyed to his interlocutors that he believes that with the right steps, enough Democratic lawmakers with enough political clout can be swayed to stop the deal in its tracks.”

Yedioth’s Alex Fishman notes that the “security establishment is already dealing with the day after [a deal]: the compensation Israel will demand from the US, the Israeli strategy in the new era, and the size of the budget on the Iranian threat.”

“There will be a deal, and it is bad,” the headline of Fishman’s column reads.

Left to right: US Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and EU Secretary General for the External Action Service, Helga Schmid, meet at the table at the Palais Coburg Hotel in Vienna, Austria, on July 6, 2015. (AFP/Joe Klamar)
Left to right: US Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and EU Secretary General for the External Action Service, Helga Schmid, meet at the table at the Palais Coburg Hotel in Vienna, Austria, on July 6, 2015. (AFP/Joe Klamar)

The sentiment is shared by Israel Hayom’s Haim Shine.

“The US and European ‘powers’ decided to give in to Iran’s demands. They have no desire or energy to fight with the leaders of global terror,” he writes.

“President Obama’s capitulation today is reminiscent of another shameful capitulation, on that bitter, hasty night on September 30, 1938. The night Neville Chamberlain, the prime minister of Britain, and Édouard Daladie, the prime minister of France, signed the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler. An agreement of surrender that will be remembered for eternity.”

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