Icing on the yellowcake
Hebrew media review

Icing on the yellowcake

Reactions to Netanyahu’s speech at the UN range from disappointment at what he said to disappointment at who did not hear it

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, at the United Nations headquarters in New York (photo credit: AP/Andrew Gombert,Pool)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, at the United Nations headquarters in New York (photo credit: AP/Andrew Gombert,Pool)

Israeli papers Wednesday morning are essentially one big case of ICYMI (in case you missed it, for those who, um, missed it), with each daily leading off with a quote from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations from the night before and more opinions than Iran has centrifuges.

Haaretz takes the yellowcake for most opinions/analyses, with six on Page 1 alone, beating out Israel Hayom’s four. A quick survey of Haaretz’s army of opiners reveals Amos Harel writing about Israel needing to come to terms with the diplomatic push, Yossi Verter on Netanyahu playing the role of spoilsport at Rouhani’s party (where yellowcake was presumably served), Chemi Shalev lamenting the fact that the speech didn’t help Israel take any steps forward on the issue, Barak Ravid on the chances that the speech will cause Netanyahu to get his wish and find Israel alone in the world, Amira Hass on how the Palestinians saw it (just more needless crying to divert attention from the occupation) and Ari Shavit on the one thing the speech did do: restore a military threat:

“Make no mistake: Beneath Netanyahu’s undramatic speech hides great drama. The plot is not fading, it is thickening. What Netanyahu said yesterday is that it’s all or nothing. Either a major deal with the Iranians, or an Israeli action. There will be no partial deal, Israel’s prime minister said. Either sanctions or us. Either the international community pushes Iran to the wall, or Israel will strike. Whether credible or not, the Israeli military threat made a major comeback in New York on Tuesday. The Iranian season has returned.”

Both Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth have full transcripts of the speech, translated into Hebrew and cleverly annotated (Israel Hayom has the speech translated, but only with yellow highlights over the juicy bits).

Maariv’s commentators are generally more supportive than Haaretz’s of Netanyahu’s speech, with David Shine saying that it shined a harsh light on the West and its engagement with Tehran. “Nobody likes to see themselves in the mirror. Everyone knows it’s all one big show, but nobody wants to admit it. In his address, the prime minister urged them to deal with the reality, and not to be dissuaded courtesy of the enchantment of nice words.”

Yedioth Ahronoth, in the meantime, reports that Netanyahu’s speech was the victim of bad timing, as nobody in the US could give two shakes about what another world leader thinks when Congress has SHUT DOWN THE US GOVERNMENT. Being the last speaker to go up, after Iran and the US had their say ages ago and everybody already forgot about the issue, also did not help. “Netanyahu was late to the party. When the whole world was focused on Iran and Hasan Rouhani took up all the attention in New York, Netanyahu wasn’t there. Yesterday, the Iranian president couldn’t even get a headline. America was busy with another story: the shutdown of the economy.”

In Israel Hayom, Boaz Bizmuth writes that it’s a shame if the world did not pay attention, because Netanyahu’s speech was one everybody needed to hear: “This wasn’t an address the world would love to hear, but it was an address the world needed to hear. Netanyahu did not bother yesterday with a pleasant speech. Netanyahu looked to have the world hear the truth, and the truth, what can you do, sometimes hurts. It’s clear the world would rather live in the Iranian bubble and that’s what Netanyahu came to pop.”

Mayor may-I?

The indictment of Bat Yam dictator mayor Shlomo Lahiani, who has transformed the sleepy Tel Aviv suburb into a high-rise developer’s dream, also makes big news. Lahiani was charged with taking bribes, fraud and breach of trust, but says he will still stand for reelection when Bat Yamians go to the polls later this month. While a mayor getting indicted is nothing new in Israel, in Maariv Baruch Kara writes that the charges against Lahiani are harsher than other mayors still looking for re-election and therefore he might not be covered by a recent high court ruling which allows indicted mayors to run for office. “In essence, it’s clear that the indictment on Lahiani is much harsher than that of [Nazareth mayor Shimon] Gapso and [Ramat Hasharon mayor Yitzhak] Rochberger, and thus even if the city council meets and allows him to stay aboard, he won’t pass the High Court test.”

The strange tale of angry parents who torched a kindergarten, and the teacher’s car, over a dispute with said teacher, is also widely covered in the press. Yedioth reports that the affair began when the teacher turned to the Education Ministry over a student she thought was being abused. Nobody has been arrested since that fire on Moshav Heletz, and she fears she will be attacked again.

“I know the people who did this, the parents who torched the kindergarten. They are violent, and they could hurt me again,” she tells the paper. “I’m just a teacher, and suddenly, I’ve become a target.”

Haaretz, meanwhile, writes about what it calls violence in another kind of garten, a national park on the side of Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. (Both use the same word, “gan,” in Hebrew.) The paper recently reported that the creation of the park aims to prevent construction and protect open space, but it’s not so simple, the editorial writer says. “Looking around, it’s easy to see whose construction the park is meant to prevent; to the south lies A-Tur, to the north, Issawiya. These two Palestinian neighborhoods, like most Arab neighborhoods, suffer from long-term neglect, overcrowding, absence of development plans, and illegal construction due to the fact that building permits simply aren’t granted.”

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