Lockups and price drops
Hebrew media review

Lockups and price drops

The Israeli media has a field day with arrests, phones, chess, and appointments

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin (right), head of the State Control committee Roni Bar On (left), and state comptroller elect Yosef Shapira on Monday (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin (right), head of the State Control committee Roni Bar On (left), and state comptroller elect Yosef Shapira on Monday (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

Several stories prevail in Tuesday’s papers. Foremost are the arrest of a suspect in a Tel Aviv rape case, the appointment of a new state comptroller, and the emergence of new mobile phone carriers on the Israeli market.


The manhunt to capture the perpetrator of a shocking rape early Saturday morning in the bathroom of a parking lot in Tel Aviv ended Monday night. Tel Aviv police arrested a 21-year-old Palestinian suspect at a restaurant on Ibn Gbirol Street, near the scene of the crime. Four others were also held, apparently on suspicion of interfering with the police investigation of the attack.
Maariv’s headline reads: “After a three-day hunt: The suspect in the Gan Ha’ir rape arrested.” It adds that the man allegedly attacked the woman and her boyfriend, forced them to have sex, struck them, threatened them with a knife, raped the girl, and tried to sexually assault her boyfriend.

Yedioth Ahronoth emphasizes the fact that the man is from a village near Nablus and had been residing illegally in Tel Aviv for some weeks. Haaretz reports that the suspect lodged with the four others taken into custody and that police are investigating whether he is linked to other recent crimes in north Tel Aviv. Police identified him through DNA evidence, fingerprints, and CCTV footage from the scene of the crime.

Yedioth Ahronoth also reports that the prosecutor’s office is concerned that Eden Ohayon may only be charged with manslaughter in the death of Gadi Vichman. It quotes his widow saying, “He took my beloved from me and they will only charge him with manslaughter.”

To kill the king

Haaretz has a large article about the clash of the Indian and Israeli chess titans at the World Chess Championships in Moscow. After two matches and two stalemates, “Boris Gelfand proves he is no less than his rival.”

One thing Haaretz notes is that India celebrates World Champion Viswanathan Anand as a national hero and has bestowed him with the highest national honors for an athlete. Israel, on the other hand, has neglected Gelfand.

“No Israeli ministry — not the Foreign Ministry, not the Tourism Ministry, and of course not the Culture and Sport Ministry — bothered to even think of the possibility of financing the duel over the world championship title, not even partially,” Eli Shvidler writes. “Only when the date of the tournament approached did some ministers rush to be photographed with Gelfand, in order to get a few more minutes of exposure in the press.”

Falling phones

Two new companies entered the cellphone market on Monday, changing the face of one of Israel’s more static industries. Three companies dominated the market for almost two decades, Orange, Cellcom, and Pelephone. Since legislation passed last year to open the market to competition, they have been joined by at least five others.

Israel Hayom’s headline sums up the result: “Their war, our profit.” Prices for cellphone plans have plummeted. Two of the newest companies, Golan Telecom and Hot Mobile, offer unlimited packages for under NIS 100 per month — almost half of the competition’s average.

Hezi Shternlicht comments in Israel Hayom that the unshackling of markets should not be limited to cellphones. “The time has come to free us through good and healthy competition in many sectors,” he says. Oversight may be needed in some fields to protect the consumer, but “in Israel this kind of supervision… was unsuccessful. Now is the time to increase the competition.”

Long live the comptroller

The Knesset elected Yosef Shapira as the new state comptroller in a third ballot on Monday in a 68 to 40 vote; he will replace current State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on July 4.

Haaretz, which on Monday advocated the appointment of Eliezer Rivlin to the position, highlights some of Shapira’s notable decisions. It mentions his approval of the operation of a parking garage on Saturday in Jerusalem, and the compensation to a Palestinian family who lost a member to a Border Police’s rubber bullet.

Maariv writes that Shapira will be filling Lindenstrauss’s shoes. Contrary to prior speculations, it quotes sources close to Shapira saying that he doesn’t plan to give anyone an easy ride, including the prime minister.

Shapira’s appointment was the subject of Israel’s political cartoonists, none of which cast him in a positive light. In Maariv, Lindenstrauss is shown handing off his dentures to Shapira, but it is unclear whether the false teeth symbolize real power or the illusion of it.

Photo of political cartoon in Maariv, May 15, 2012.
Photo of political cartoon in Maariv, May 15, 2012.
Photo of political cartoon in Haaretz, May 15, 2012.
Photo of political cartoon in Haaretz, May 15, 2012.

Haaretz lampoons the replacement of Lindenstrauss with a purportedly less activist state comptroller. A grateful and relieved Knesset is shown welcoming a less intrusive investigator.

Israel Hayom shows Lindenstrauss handing Shapira the state comptroller’s report, in which sits a toy horn, and wishing him luck.

Photo of political cartoon in Israel Hayom, May 15, 2012.
Photo of political cartoon in Israel Hayom, May 15, 2012.

Yedioth Ahronoth shows Benjamin Netanyahu, Eli Yishai, and Yuval Steinitz — all subjects of comptroller investigations — gladly offering to help Lindenstrauss pack his things.

Photo of political cartoon in Yedioth Ahronoth Hayom, May 15, 2012.
Photo of political cartoon in Yedioth Ahronoth Hayom, May 15, 2012.

The general view among cartoon editorialists is that the coalition chose Shapira for his passivity and is glad to see Lindenstrauss go.

Dr. Michal Tamir writes in Maariv that there are two categories of state comptroller, activists, like Lindenstrauss, and passive ones. She advocates a middle road between the two. “There is no act that shouldn’t be examined, but not all review should be conducted by the state comptroller,” Tamir writes.

Two poles on the Tal Law

Haaretz offers two opposing opinion pieces regarding enlistment of ultra-Orthodox and Arab Israelis into the IDF. Moshe Arens advocates the inclusion of the two minority sectors in national service, and Oudeh Basharat argues against.

Arens writes that the Tal Law is broken, and calls for equal service for Israeli Jews — secular and Orthodox — and Arab Christians, Muslims, and Druze. “All of Israel’s citizens are equal,” he says. “The goal must be universal military service. It can be reached gradually, but not by legalizing inequality.”

Basharat condemns the IDF and proponents of universal draft (commonly referred to as “the suckers“) . He says that the militancy of those who advocated broader conscription in the past would have resulted in the Israeli conquest of the Syrian and Egyptian capitals.

“The Arabs and the Haredim do the suckers a favor by not enlisting in the army,” he writes. “If another 40 percent of the population took part in ‘the burden,’ it would be reasonable to assume that the suckers would now be patrolling the alleyways of Damascus, and maybe also the outskirts of Giza, where they would be clashing with the ‘pyramid-top youth’ who had set up another illegal outpost.”

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