All eyes on Iran
Hebrew Media Review

All eyes on Iran

Millions of Iranians elect their next president; Israel names its best teachers; Turkish protesters push on

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani speaks with media after registering his candidacy for upcoming presidential election (photo credit: AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani speaks with media after registering his candidacy for upcoming presidential election (photo credit: AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The elections for the man who will replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president take center stage in Friday’s papers, as the world awaits news from Tehran. Other issues, like the civil war in Syria, Turkish protests and the ongoing Bar Noar murder investigation, get pushed to the side.

“Iran votes, Khamenei will win,” reads Israel Hayom‘s headline as it highlights the Iranian elections on its front page. Reformist Hasan Rowhani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Qalibaf are the only three (of the six candidates) with any chance of winning, the daily reports.

“The entire world will have its eyes turned toward Iran. 50 million people with the right to vote in the Islamic Republic are invited to the 66 thousand polling stations around the country,” the paper describes the process. The turnout and number of voters needs to be followed closely, it states, reporting on a growing trend among young, more liberal Iranians to boycott the elections as an act of protest against their legitimacy.

Alongside the Iranian Elections, Maariv dedicates its first pages to other regional issues. Citing the latest UN assessments, the daily reports that at least 93,000 people, including 6,500 children, have been killed in the Syrian civil war so far. In Aleppo, the paper states, opposition forces are preparing for an offensive by President Bashar Assad’s troops, reinforced by Hezbollah fighters.

The protests in Turkey also receive some coverage from the daily, as it mentions that tens of thousands remained in Taksim Square and Gezi Park after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued an ultimatum to them. He was forced to back down and meet with the protesters’ representatives instead of sending in the police to “forcefully evacuate” them, as he had promised to do.

Haaretz‘s front page is also dominated by foreign affairs, but gives much room to a report by the Education Ministry, warning about the sharp rise in teachers employed indirectly through contractors, instead of through the government.

One out of 10 teachers doesn’t work for the ministry, the report states. The status quo is harmful for the ministry and education system, according to the report, since it leaves institutions open to the lawsuits and demands of that minority of teachers, who will want similar conditions to their colleagues who were hired by the state.

The daily says that this assessment is contrary to statements made by top officials within the ministry, who said there was no problem, legal or otherwise, in hiring teachers through contracting companies and not treating them as state employees.

Yedioth Ahronoth also dedicates a large part of its front page to Israel’s teachers, as it announces the winners of its annual “teacher of the country” contest, in which students, teachers and parents name a teacher who they believe to be a special role model.

Six teachers — five Jewish women and one Arab man — were honored by President Shimon Peres and named extraordinary teachers. “I want to congratulate you for the tremendous dedication each of you goes through to be a teacher today,” Peres told the winners.

“Teaching isn’t an expense, teaching is an investment,” the president said, adding that teachers needed to educate, not only teach the children theoretical knowledge.

Though pushed off most the front pages, the Hebrew papers all report about the ongoing investigation into the Bar Noar shooting from four years ago and the questions surrounding the arrest of a prominent member of the LGBT community.

According to the papers, the suspect will be sent to two weeks of house arrest, while the police investigate claims by a male-to-female transsexual that he attempted to rape her 10 years prior, while she was still male.

Yedioth Ahronoth also reports concerns within the IDF’s rabbinate regarding upcoming budget cuts, and fears among religious soldiers that the level of kashrut will drop as a result. Tens of soldiers from the rabbinate, in charge of making sure the food in military kitchens is stored and cooked according to Jewish ritual law, will be removed from their jobs as a result of the 25 percent budget cuts facing the IDF’s rabbinate, the paper says.

An unnamed officer told Yedioth that if the plan were carried out, soldiers who kept kosher wouldn’t be able to eat in the army’s kitchens. David Ben-Gurion had two conditions for the army, so that everyone could serve side by side — kashrut and shabbat, the source said, warning about the ramifications of such a decision.

In 2009, the Iranians took to the streets, and over 70 people were killed in riots that erupted when the election results appeared to have been rigged, and victory taken from Mir Hossein Mousavi — and the world didn’t take notice or act, former diplomat and veteran columnist Boaz Bismuth writes in an op-ed for Israel Hayom.

“In Iran,” Bismuth writes, “nothing’s changed. A president comes and a president goes, and Ali Khamenei, the spiritual leader, the heir of [Ruhollah] Khomeini, forever stays.” The only way the regime will fall is if the masses take to the streets. “If only Obama had understood this in 2009.”

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