The country’s three main Hebrew-language newspapers on Friday lead with the death of an Israeli soldier in a car-ramming attack in the West Bank, each spotlighting a smiling photo of Sgt. Elhai Teharlev, 20, who was killed when a Palestinian driver slammed into a bus stop he was patrolling near the Ofra settlement.
“You were an angel, and you were taken away like an angel,” reads the headline of Yedioth Ahronoth. “[Elhai], you had a smile that would melt hearts,” leads Israel Hayom, both quoting Rabbi Ohad Teharlev, the soldier’s father.
Teharlev, from the settlement of Talmon, died of his injuries after being struck by a Palestinian driver in a silver Audi at the Ofra Junction on Route 60, northeast of Ramallah, where he was on duty. Another soldier was wounded in the attack.
Israel Hayom, Yedioth and Haaretz all stress that the Palestinian who ran over Teharlev served four months in jail for attempting an attack at the settlement of Adam last year, according to military officials. The Palestinian driver, identified by Palestinian media as Malek Ahmad Mousa Hamed, 21, from the town of Silwad, drove back and forth along the road looking for soldiers to target. IDF sources said his attack Thursday was the ninth in the past two years to be carried out by residents of Silwad.
The papers also note that Teharlev attended the Makor Haim yeshiva in Kfar Etzion in the West Bank and was a friend of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered three years ago by a Hamas-affiliated cell operating in the West Bank. The bodies of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach were found some three weeks after they were picked up from a bus stop while hitchhiking home on June 12, 2014 after a day at the yeshiva. “The terror and the bereavement has not let go of the prestigious yeshiva,” reads a Yedioth headline.
Meanwhile, the reports in Israel Hayom, Yedioth and Haaretz that say the US is planning an attack on Syria are a touch dated by Friday morning. After Israeli newspapers went to print, US President Donald Trump ordered a massive military strike against a Syrian air force base in the war-torn region in retaliation for a deadly chemical weapons attack that the US and other western countries blame on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and that the US says was launched from the air force base that was struck.
Nevertheless, these reports offer some insight into Israeli public opinion over the suspected chemical attack Tuesday that left at least 86 dead — including 27 children — in the northern Idlib province and provoked global outrage. The reports in the three major papers are fiercely critical of Assad, and even the left-leaning, generally anti-Trump Haaretz shows some support for the president’s decision to send the Syrian leader a clear message.
Meanwhile, Haaretz reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been working to ensure that 260 journalists at the new broadcast authority, known as Kan, will be fired, following an agreement reached last week whereby the soon-to-be-launched corporation will lose its centerpiece news division. However, according to Haaretz, the legislation concerning Kan does not allow for such a move, and the journalists will remain employed for at least the next three months. Under the agreement reached last week, staffers from the existing Israel Broadcasting Authority, which is being replaced, will provide Kan’s news in the coming months until a new, separate news entity is established, which will be made up primarily of former IBA employees.
Finally, Israel Hayom warns that the Israeli security agencies are on alert Friday over the potential for cyber-attacks by Anonymous, after the hacker group targeted the Jewish state on April 7 in previous years. The attacks in solidarity with the Palestinians have in the past succeeded in blocking government sites, including for the defense and foreign ministries. The paper advises readers to take special note of potential threats and to stay clear of any fishy-looking online activity. The April 7 cyber-attacks were first launched in 2013 and that year timed to coincide with the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Jewish calendar.