Living on the knife edge
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Hebrew media review

Living on the knife edge

Attacks nationwide prompt panicked wall-to-wall news coverage; Haaretz says Abbas ‘nearly the sole voice of reason and moderation’

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian stone thrower  near Beit El, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 7, 2015. (AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)
Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian stone thrower near Beit El, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 7, 2015. (AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)

With a terror attack reported nearly every two hours on Wednesday, the Hebrew papers Thursday scramble to get a handle on the considerable upsurge in violence plaguing the entire country.

The pages of Yedioth Ahronoth are reminiscent of the Second Intifada, with its first 15 pages of news coverage dedicated to terror attacks nationwide, reassurances from police, first-person accounts from horror-stricken citizens, and a timeline of the attacks that goes on and on.

Yedioth Ahronoth’s Nahum Barnea offers a first-hand account of the Old City stabbing on Wednesday morning by a female assailant.

“It was 10:40 a.m., yesterday morning. I walked on Hagai street, accompanied by a resident of the Old City who was witness to the murderous attack on Saturday night. I wanted to understand what exactly happened there when a terrorist attacked Aharon Banita and his wife Adele, where she ran to, in whose ears she screamed ‘help!’… Suddenly we heard a woman’s piercing scream, an almost inhuman scream in its power, and a few moments later the sound of a gunshot.”

“I ran forward, along with the police. The terrorist, young, in a long grey dress, collapsed and fell on the stone floor, her body twisted. The cops rolled her over with their feet, on her stomach, on her back, to ensure she didn’t have a weapon on her. The knife that lay next to her,on the floor, was covered in blood.”

With attacks in Tekoa, Kiryat Gat, Petah Tikva, Lod, Jaffa, Maale Adumim, “the wave of terror threatened to turn into a tsunami,” writes Barnea.

Israel Hayom, meanwhile, tries to keep morale up, highlighting the accounts of two Israeli women — Liat Ohana of Kiryat Gat and Rivi Lev-Ohayon of Tekoa — with its main headline reading: “In the midst of a wave of terror — heroism.”

“I entered my house with my groceries and as I was about to close the door, I felt a hit. The terrorist opened the door with a huge bang with his gun. He grabbed my shirt and I saw my life flash before my eyes,” says Ohana.

Ohana said the terrorist, armed with an M-16 he took from an IDF soldier, then entered the kitchen to find a knife. Ohana said she believed the gun was not loaded.

Ohana then scuffled with the Palestinian, and said she “fought like a lion.” She then managed to run out of the house with her mother.

Lev-Ohayon, who was attacked by a mob in the West Bank, said, “By a miracle, I was saved from a lynching.”

The smashed window of an Israeli vehicle after an attack by rock throwing Palestinians near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, October 7, 2015. (Courtesy)
The smashed window of an Israeli vehicle after an attack by rock throwing Palestinians near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, October 7, 2015. (Courtesy)

“In the moments when they attacked me I told myself: ‘This is it. I’m dead. The girls will have no mother.’ I have three little girls. I felt that I must try to save myself for my family.” Lev-Ohayon suffered head and hand injuries, and various cuts.

Over in Haaretz, the paper writes that Wednesday’s stabbers are not affiliated with any terror organizations and most were children during the Second Intifada.

The mother of the Old City stabber, who announced on her Facebook page that she was going to be “a martyr,” was denying her 18-year-old daughter had stabbed an Israeli. Shorouq Dwayyat’s mother was insisting two Israeli men had tried to remove her daughter’s head covering and then she was shot unprovoked.

(Dwayyat, a resident of East Jerusalem’s Tsur Baher neighborhood and a student at Bethlehem University, wrote on Facebook: “Mother: Where are you going? Mother, I am going to become a shahid Mother, I want to ask a request of you. Don’t cry about me, when I become a shahid #Our greatest desire is to become shadids for Allah.”)

Shorouq Dwayyat, a Palestinian student who stabbed an Israeli man on October 7, 2015. (Facebook)
Shorouq Dwayyat, a Palestinian student who stabbed an Israeli man on October 7, 2015. (Facebook)

“On social media, Palestinians created groups in support of Shorouq in light of reports of the attack, but the family has forcefully denied that she had any ill intent,” it reports.

Haaretz’s editorial slams the Israeli leadership and offers gushing praise for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas — who has yet to condemn the killings of four Israelis — for his efforts to quell tensions.

“While the prime minister, a few of his cabinet ministers and, chiefly, extreme right-wing activists and settler leaders are busy fanning the flames, calling for and taking action to toughen punitive measures against the Palestinians, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas continues to do everything in his power to calm the situation,” it writes.

If “another intifada erupts, both peoples will be harmed, will bleed and will yet again pay a heavy price without receiving anything in return. Abbas recognizes this, Netanyahu apparently does not. We must listen now to Abbas, who is nearly the sole voice of reason and moderation to be heard in the region.”

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