Hezbollah ups activities, Zoabi rapped for low blow
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Hezbollah ups activities, Zoabi rapped for low blow

Renewed operations on the northern border cause concern, while MK Hanin Zoabi angers the right (again) and the rainy season starts

Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi (Balad) in the Knesset. (photo credit: Flash90)
Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi (Balad) in the Knesset. (photo credit: Flash90)

With no major story unifying the papers on Monday, each one strikes out on its own to give its readers what it thinks should be the top news.

Haaretz goes the security route with a top story about Hezbollah renewing operations against Israel on the northern border. The paper bases itself on a report in the Al-Akhbar newspaper (which is considered close to Hezbollah), which said the group was expanding its operations south of the Litani River, as it had in the years leading up to the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

The article (which appeared on October 8) seems to confirms what Israeli security sources suspect, that Hezbollah is now ready for another round with Israel. The paper cites the group’s unusual claim of responsibility for the October 7 attack along the Lebanese border that left two Israeli soldiers injured as proof that Hezbollah is ready to tango with the IDF.

While Haaretz frets about the security situation on the border, Israel Hayom’s front page is fuming at Knesset member Hanin Zoabi. “Anger on the right: Expel Zoabi from the Knesset,” reads the headline, and inside the comments aren’t much softer. Politicians are upset at Zoabi for comparing IDF pilots to Islamic State murderers. “Though the soldier remains in the plane when he bombs, and though he doesn’t see his victim…he is no less a terrorist than someone who takes a knife and cuts off a head,” she said.

Her outburst garnered calls for her removal from the Knesset and worse. Transportation Minister Israel Katz (Likud) called her comments treasonous and wants to find a way to legally “remove her from the Knesset and expel her immediately from the country.” Danny Danon (also Likud) said, “Zoabi does not miss an opportunity to prove she should be in jail.”

Israel Hayom columnist Haim Shein takes Zoabi’s comments and uses them to openly question the loyalty of Israeli Arabs. Shein thinks that Israeli Arabs have only two choices: “Arab citizens of Israel must wake up [and choose]. One or the other: either they support extremist activities, including by those who represent them in the Knesset, or they have to sound the protest against those who walk on their backs.”

While Shein concedes that most Israeli Arabs don’t take part in hostile activities against the state, that doesn’t convince him that all is well. He concludes his piece by saying that the Israeli government is trying to ensure equal rights of its Arab citizens but that may all be for naught if they do not decide which side they are on.

Over in Yedioth Ahronoth, the top story is still the devastating avalanche in Nepal that killed three Israelis (a toll subsequently raised to four). The paper reports on the emotional funeral of one of the victims, Nadav Shoham, 30. Also at the funeral was Shani, who was with Nadav in his final moments. She arrived in a hospital gown, still being treated for wounds suffered in the avalanche. Nadav’s mother asked her what her son’s last words were. “He sang a tune from the Kiddush on Shabbat [the traditional blessing over the wine].”

The paper also reports on how the Chabad house in Katmandu has become a center for healing for the Israelis still in Nepal. IDF psychologists have arrived at the center and are treating people for a range of post-trauma issues. However, the paper reports, not all people there are ready to leave Nepal. There are some backpackers who want to return to the trail, despite what happened. Two girls in their 20s told the paper, “We couldn’t decide what to do and in the end we decided not to give up on the trip. If our parents knew, that would be the end of us.”

No trial for police chief?

The Israel Police has had a long line of resignations of its top brass for various offenses, but the case against Nissan “Niso” Shaham for sexual misconduct grabbed a lot of headlines. Now, Haaretz reports, the case may not go to trial as the key witness in the case has withdrawn her testimony due to health reasons. The paper writes that the case against Shaham seems weak, with two other women reportedly saying that nothing happened and they don’t want to testify. Despite the setback, the prosecutor said the trial would go on as planned against Shaham.

Over in Israel Hayom, the paper reports on the perplexing case of Othman Adbul-Kiyan, a doctor at Barzilai Hospital in Beersheba, who went to fight for the Islamic State. His colleague at the hospital, Dr. Yousef Mashal, said of the native of the Bedouin village of Hura, “He is a witty and sharp guy, very knowledgeable in medicine, literature and religion.”

Even his family seems perplexed at his decisions. His brother said that one day he went to Turkey unannounced, which isn’t unusual due to the large number of tourist areas there. But then his brother rented a car and drove off and they hadn’t heard from him again. Another relative told the paper, “They brainwashed him. He was so promising. Shame on him and his family.”

Wet weather

A storm blew into Israel on Sunday and caught the country off guard. Yedioth reports that the storm caused power outages, downed trees, and even overturned cars, along with traffic delays in the center of the country and power outages. In Haifa, the storm wreaked havoc with drivers. One driver lost control of his car in the rain; it and overturned on a sidewalk and damaged two scooters (but luckily no one was injured).

The first storm signals the beginning of the Israeli winter and while the forecast says the rain will dissipate, the temperatures Monday will only get up to a balmy 24 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit) in Tel Aviv, and 19 degrees Celsius (66 Fahrenheit) in Jerusalem.

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