search
Hebrew media review

Not Nice news in France and Israel

Late-night terror attack in southern France gets only minimal coverage as papers go to print; interrogation of Netanyahu’s aide is the talk of the town

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.

Police officers and rescue workers stand near a van that plowed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. (Valery Hache/AFP)
Police officers and rescue workers stand near a van that plowed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. (Valery Hache/AFP)

A suspected terrorist attack in France bears eerie resemblance to attacks in Israel and makes headlines worldwide after a French-Tunisian man plowed a truck into a crowd in the southern city of Nice, killing over 80 and sending several others to the hospital.

The Hebrew tabloids managed to get the story in before the papers were sent to print, leaving broadsheet Haaretz forced to report on the story and its inevitable aftermath Friday morning online.

“Terrorism once again horrifies France — this time Bastille Day celebrations on the promenade on the shore of the resort city of Nice,” Israel Hayom reports. Yedioth Ahronoth calls it a “nightmare.” The reports are scant on details as the incident was still unfolding at the time of publication.

The big story in local affairs is the detention and questioning under caution of a former senior aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday. It makes front page news across the board and is seen as a shot across the prime minister’s bow.

Haaretz reports that former Netanyahu aide Ari Harow was interrogated by police about suspected corruption by Netanyahu. Harow was questioned for hours and released to house arrest. It adds that another woman close to the prime minister was summoned to provide testimony as well. Two other officials from Netanyahu’s office were expected to be called in for questioning in the affair.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flanked by former chief of staff Ari Harow and former parliamentary adviser Perach Lerner as he arrives at a Likud faction meeting in the Israeli parliament, November 24, 2014. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flanked by former chief of staff Ari Harow and former parliamentary adviser Perach Lerner as he arrives at a Likud faction meeting in the Israeli parliament, November 24, 2014. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Though Israel Hayom places its story on the front page, and in a small module on Page 3 — overshadowed by the barebones coverage of the Nice attack — it surprisingly includes no comment from the Prime Minister’s Office or senior Likud officials or anything else anonymous or otherwise, and keeps the story short and sweet.

Yedioth Ahronoth has by far the most detailed account, reporting that after Harow landed from his flight from the US through Madrid, he was taken in for questioning by the police. They first started out with general testimony, then grilled him on his financial activity vis-a-vis the Netanyahu family.

“It’s suspected that Harow managed part of the family expenditures of the Netanyahu family, and in his interrogation he was asked about it at length, as well as about the sources from which he brought donations to Netanyahu, their purposes for which the donations were given and whether some of them were used for personal expenses,” the paper reports.

Halfway through the interrogation, after something didn’t sit well with the police officers, they notified him that henceforth the questioning would be under caution and could be used against him in a court of law, the paper reports. Yedioth Ahronoth notifies its readers that Harow’s interrogation was likely connected to the investigation into Netanyahu’s alleged acceptance of funds from foreign persons, “and if the reports that the police found information on [Harow’s] computer about forbidden cash transfers to the Netanyahu family are correct, it stands to reason that Harow is expected to become the key person in cracking the case.”

Ari Harow, former chief of staff of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a Likud meeting in the Israeli parliament, November 24, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Ari Harow, former chief of staff of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a Likud meeting in the Israeli parliament, November 24, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

In other news, the Shin Bet security agency’s decision to restrict imports and exports to the Gaza Strip earns top billing in Haaretz, which reports that the move “directly harms traders and importers… employing hundreds of workers, senior officials responsible for infrastructure and rebuilding the Strip, doctors…” the list goes on.

It notes that the sudden tightening of restrictions is an about-face from the gradual easing of the blockade that’s taken place over the past six years. It also points out that the exit permits of over a third of the Gaza Strip’s merchants were either canceled or not allowed to be renewed. The result is an intensification of the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip, it says.

The pride parade that wasn’t in Beersheba also makes waves in the press, after a protest was held in the southern city after police demanded the event not take place on a main avenue for “security reasons.” Yedioth Ahronoth reports in its Page 2 story that over 2,000 people turned out, while Haaretz’s front page article puts it at around 1,500. Israel Hayom buries the issue on Page 11.

Haaretz reports that Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich was nowhere to be seen as the protesters gathered outside city hall, but Yedioth Ahronoth reports that the mayor issued a statement that the parade should have been held on the main boulevard of the city. Protesters who heard his statement said it was a shame it was too little, too late.

Under a picture of Border Police officers standing over protesters, the paper says in an op-ed that “this is how revolutions begin.” Orna Oshri writes that the “farce” of the past week in Beersheba brought her blood to a boil and got her back out on the streets in protests, despite not having done so in years. “The same High Court that allowed Kahanists to march inside an Arab city is concerned about ‘balance’ and by the intelligence estimations of the police when it comes to gays and lesbians in the capital of the Negev.”

read more:
comments