Hebrew media review

Hot Hebron nights

The killing of another soldier Sunday is not the beginning of an intifada, analysts agree, but things may still heat up in the contested city

File: Jewish settlers and Israeli border policemen outside of Hebron's Beit Hamachpela in April 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
File: Jewish settlers and Israeli border policemen outside of Hebron's Beit Hamachpela in April 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The world’s eyes may be on a Nairobi mall, but in Israel, attention in Monday morning’s paper is zeroed in on Hebron, which became the scene of the second killing of an IDF soldier by (allegedly) Palestinian hands in some 48 hours.

In Maariv, Ben Dror Yemini writes that the attacks are cause for worry, but not panic. “The recent incidents make out a tough list,” he writes. “But is an intifada restarting? Not quite. A graph of casualties testifies to the drop over the last few years. But still, there’s no cause for celebration.”

Yedioth Ahronoth details the massive manhunt underway for the killer, thought to be a Palestinian sniper, and quotes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the political response will be the reoccupation (take that term as you may) of a disputed house near the city’s Tomb of the Patriarchs.

“Those who try to uproot us from the City of the Patriarchs will achieve the opposite. We will continue to fight terrorism and strike at terrorists on the one hand and strengthen settlement with the other,” the paper quotes Netanyahu saying

Yedioth also reports that the victim, Gal Gabriel Kobi, was among the most gung ho of his cohort, trying to push friends into serving in combat roles in the army.

Gal was an excellent student, loved and popular, who pushed his friends in the city to be combat soldiers,” the principle of his high school in Tirat Hacarmel is quoted saying.

However, a snippet from his Facebook wall from September 19, published by the paper, shows he may have been growing tired of the position he was put in: “Again I find myself in the middle of the night in Arab villages… What will be the endddd?”

Haaretz reports, though, that Sunday in Hebron, which welcomed thousands of visitors for the Sukkot holiday, was not like any other. “Already in the afternoon there was an uptick in tensions around the Tomb of the Patriarchs,” the paper writes, quoting a city resident, “and there were clashes with IDF [soldiers] that included stone throwing [attacks]. The fire from an unknown location came during one of those clashes.”

In Israel Hayom, Yoav Limor notes that some will be quick to compare the killing, thought to have come from a sniper, to a sniper’s murder of 9-month-old Shalhevet Pass in the city during the early days of the Second Intifada in 2001, which could ignite tensions: “Against that backdrop, coordination conversations between Israeli and Palestinian officials were convened overnight to try and prevent the city from heating up. [Hebron is] expected to host in the coming days masses of Israeli pilgrims, and will thus be an area of outstanding friction,” he writes.

The death of Kobi came two days after Sgt. Tomer Hazan was lured to the West Bank by a Palestinian coworker, kidnapped and killed. Israel Hayom reports that another employee at the Bat Yam diner that employed them both was also implored by accused killer Nidal Amar to visit his home in Beit Amin. Manager Moti Alemshali tells the paper that Amar spun a yarn several months ago, which in retrospect was likely designed to make him into a kidnapping victim.

“Some three months ago, Nadal told me about a treasure with much silver that seemed to be buried underneath his family home,” Alemshali tells the paper. “He told me the sheikh of his town forbade him from taking down part of his house to get at the treasure, and so he suggested that I come to him.”

In lighter news, Yedioth reports on the largest and priciest house in the country being built in the seaside town of Caesarea for Russian-Israeli oligarch Valery Kogan. The paper reports that seven already sizable homes were torn down to make room for the 3,000-square-meter (32,200-square-foot) palace, plus a 2,000-square-meter private spa, and a massive pool. The house will come with its own parking garage, electricity station, tennis courts, and — as if that weren’t enough — golden gates worth some NIS 2 million ($567,000) at the entrance to the compound, which will keep out neighbors including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “There has never been such a massive investment in a house in Israel,” luxury real estate expert Einav Mekamel tells the paper.

In Haaretz’s op-ed page, Oudeh Basharat tackles the oft quoted reprimand that people shouldn’t speak ill of Israel, because it is not as bad as Syria or some other regional hellhole: “In a humiliating situation, the last thing I want to hear is that in this country, at least, no one sprays you with poison gas. History has proven that silence in the face of small racist incidents is an invitation to the occurrence of even more frightening ones. Human experience shows that an obstinate struggle against racism can block it.”

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