US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will be visiting Israel on his first trip outside the United States gets blockbuster treatment in the Hebrew press on Friday morning.
All the papers cite May 22 as the date of the president’s arrival, even though there was no statement to that end by the White House.
“The Trumps are coming,” is Yedioth Ahronoth’s headline, reporting that the president will be accompanied by his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Haaretz is startlingly specific about the particulars of the president’s stay, reporting that he will be in Israel and the Palestinian territories a grand 26 hours, landing at 11:00 a.m. on May 22 and being greeted at Ben Gurion International Airport by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and senior government ministers before setting out for Jerusalem.
The tabloids are in a tizzy over “Operation Blue Shield,” the security detail for the US president’s first visit to Israel in office.
“Unprecedented security” is the highlight of the Israel Hayom coverage. It reports that the security detail for the American president will include all the king’s horses and all the king’s men: “the police chief, six commissioners, helicopters, dogs, drones and more than 10,000 police officers and Shin Bet and IDF personnel.” Trump is expected to stay at the King David Hotel and visit Yad Vashem, the Prime Minister’s Residence and the President’s Residence during his visit to Jerusalem, the paper says.
Haaretz’s editorial tells its readers that they should take Trump’s recently reiterated aspirations to make a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians seriously. “After his meeting with [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas, and after speaking with all those involved in the peace process, it’s still not clear what form the solution the American government intends to adopt, what price each side will be asked to pay in order to achieve it, and whether Trump will decide to force his dream on the two sides,” the paper says. Such uncertainty, however, it suggests, creates a window for opportunity for a peace deal.
Shockingly, Israel Hayom’s Trump fanboy-in-chief Boaz Bismuth is silent on the issue of the president’s arrival. Perhaps he is left speechless by his idol’s imminent arrival.
The liberal papers are also interested in a statement made by a state prosecutor about the investigation into alleged corruption by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Hundreds of thousands of shekels isn’t just a gift from a friend,” read the headlines in Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth in one form or another.
Attorney Liat Ben-Ari, who’s involved in the investigation into the prime minister, wasn’t speaking specifically about the case involving Netanyahu allegedly accepting gifts from businessmen, Haaretz notes, but was speaking in general about bribery cases. Nonetheless, the press interprets her remarks as being a damning repudiation of actions allegedly committed by the prime minister. Netanyahu’s office went so far as to issue a statement rebuffing the lawyer’s remarks, fueling the media’s interest in the comments in the first place.
Whereas the left-leaning papers run Ben-Ari’s quotes on the front page, Israel Hayom buries the story as deep as it can get in order to keep the spotlight off Netanyahu. The run-up to the French elections, the issue of stores being open on the Sabbath, and a brief on the repatriation of property to Holocaust survivors all get greater prominence.
On the issue of the imminent French elections, Haaretz reports that National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, who is trailing in the polls, is trying to keep voters from going to the polls on Sunday. Yedioth Ahronoth focuses on how the critical presidential election has turned ugly and a little violent in recent days, with centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron filing a complaint with the police over fake news and Le Pen being pelted by eggs.