Smells fishy: 9 things to know for July 9
Israel media review

Smells fishy: 9 things to know for July 9

A childcare reform is questioned, police findings about a cop who shot a teen aren’t trusted, a helicopter trip is forgotten and a lobster is at the center of a coverup

White West Highland Terrier looking down at toy lobster on the rocks near the ocean. (Creative_Identity_Designs/iStock by Getty Images)
White West Highland Terrier looking down at toy lobster on the rocks near the ocean. (Creative_Identity_Designs/iStock by Getty Images)

1. Caring about care: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to protests by parents complaining of a lack of government oversight over daycare centers — sparked by a shocking abuse case — by promising to have the Education Ministry take over administration of state-subsidized daycare facilities.

  • Until now those daycares had been under the Welfare or Economy ministries, and the move is expected to help up the standards for the daycares it will affect.
  • But there are several questions about the move, including whether it addresses the main issue, which is the lack of any government oversight over private daycares, which make up the lion’s share of the facilities.
  • Michal Daliyot, one of the organizers of Sunday’s protests by parents, tells Channel 12 the plan is “severely lacking in its scope, and parents expect more and deserve more.”
  • Ynet reports that the Education Ministry didn’t even know about the move, beyond new minister Rafi Peretz, and learned about it through the media.
  • Haaretz’s Or Kashti describes the reform as a “band-aid,” instead of the larger change needed, charging Netanyahu with only making the promise because it is election season.
  • “After 10 years as prime minister, during which he squirmed, ignored, broke promises and rejected almost every decision on the subject — Netanyahu has suddenly discovered the importance of child care. The years that have passed since the social protests of the beginning of the decade have proven the need to treat such promises cautiously. This is not how a leader who cares about kids and their parents acts, this is what a total cynic looks like,” he writes.
  • Walla news reports that legal officials told Netanyahu that passing such a move with only a transition government in place would be problematic.

2. Many are also asking where the money will come from: Channel 13 news reports that the plan, which includes increased oversight, better training for teachers and expanding the number of kids eligible for the program, will cost over NIS 5 billion ($1.4 billion) for the first year, and then NIS 2 billion ($560 million) annually after that.

  • Yedioth Ahronoth calls it a “promise with no cover,” though it notes that Israel spends only a fifth of the OECD average on kids under the age of three — $2,713 per kid on average, vs. $12,433 — with only one in four kids in Israel even being eligible to go to a state-subsidized daycare center.
  • The Calcalist financial daily reports that a union of preschool teachers which covers most state-subsidized facilities is demanding an increase of NIS 1.1 million in each center’s annual budget, which will cost another NIS 2.25 billion per year.

3. A mother’s cry: Israel’s Ethiopian community took to the streets again Monday, restarting paused protests that left violence behind and instead focused on the anguished cries of mothers and others who lost loved ones to police violence and institutionalized racism.

  • The protests Monday took as their motto “Mom, make sure I won’t be the next victim,” and the main rally in Tel Aviv was mostly mothers calling out for their kids to protest but not to resort to fighting.
  • “I’m asking the authorities. I do not want our kids to be victims,” one protester is quoted saying by Walla. “Without fighting and without wars. We are not your enemies, we are one people, one blood.”
  • Writing in Yedioth, Worka Tekah, the father of Solomon Tekah, whose killing by police last week sparked the protests, also calls for the protests to remain peaceful: “Continue your legitimate protest, but I ask you, each of you, to act responsibly and without violence. Hear my pain and the pain of others who have paid a dear price, but don’t respond with violence.”

4. No trust: Channel 12 news reports that Teka’s family is rejecting a police internal investigations report that fund the cop who shot the fatal bullet did not aim at Tekah but instead shot at the ground, leading to a fatal ricochet.

  • According to the report, the family is ordered an independent investigation, a move that apparently surprised the Justice Ministry unit.
  • “We don’t trust them,” Tekah’s cousin tells Army Radio.
  • Channel 13 reports that investigators are still struggling to understand why the officer would shoot at the ground and not in the air, as is standard.

5. Rotor rooter: In a flashback to 2017, Case 1000, which revolves around gifts Netanyahu received from wealthy businessmen, is back in the news, despite being considered less solid than the other cases.

  • That is thanks to a series of leaks from the testimony of Netanyahu and others involving first gifts of cigars and now the prime minister allowing producer Arnon Milchan to use an air force helicopter to fly to Jordan for a business meeting.
  • A transcript published by Channel 12, and read out by the very imitable Guy Peleg, provides a detailed window into an investigator grilling Netanyahu over the chopper, with the prime minister bumbling between not remembering anything, to describing it as normal, to giving what the cop describes a “speech” on his foreign policy.
  • Police did not buy it, writing in their recommendation to the attorney general that “the prime minister is suspected of trying to push the deal [that Milchan was pursuing in Jordan] at the request of Milchan, against the opinion of officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Defense Ministry.”
  • A former high-level Defense Ministry official, who asked to remain unnamed, confirms to The Times of Israel that the ministry expressed its opposition to the project in a series of initial meetings at the time.

6. Nosy reporting: Netanyahu responded to the report by releasing a Facebook video, seemingly recorded before the piece even aired, making fun of Guy Peleg’s voice and bashing the channel, which is among his favorite pinatas.

  • But questions have arisen over why Netanyahu is sniffing at the reports, after he released another video this week making fun of the channel for reporting on testimony from a former aide that noted Netanyahu’s constant use of nasal spray, which the aide said he needed because of all the cigar smoking.
  • After the video, Peleg tweeted that it was Netanyahu’s own office that had demanded the channel report on the nasal spray quote, which it said explained an earlier report on how the aide would buy the prime minister cigars.
  • Peleg confirms in an interview with Israel Radio that the request to air the quote about the nasal spray came from Balfour Street.
  • “In an alternate reality, the prime minister could have sent a thank you note, flowers or, if he has a new hook-up, maybe a box of cigars,”Itamar Benzaquen  writes in the Seventh Eye. “But since then he would be left without material for his ongoing campaign against journalists who stubbornly expose unflattering details about him and the affairs he is caught up in.”
  • Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev writes that a study that recently came out about lowbrow TV and the rise of Italy’s populist strongman Silvio Berlusconi shows that Netanyahu is likely also benefited by the media he purports to hate.
  • “In reality, the media, and especially television, is Netanyahu’s best friend. Without it, he may have been gone from the political scene long ago. Garbage, as far as he’s concerned, is golden,” he writes.

7. Consider the lobster pun: Media can be a harsh mistress, though, as Israeli ambassador to Brazil Yossi Shelley found out the hard way Monday after a picture he posted of him having a meal with president Jair Bolsonaro became the meme of the day for its inexpertly blacked out picture of lobster being served to them.

  • UK-based journalist Ben Judah jokes that the embassy applied “Mossad Level cover up skills” to the picture, and even CNN’s Jake Tapper gets in on it with a pun even worse than the picture.
  • In an interview with Channel 12, Shelley insisted that he did not eat the lobster, but only salmon, apparently missing the point of the hubbub.
  • Yedioth TV critic notes that the affair exposed the wider issue of “how to eat your likes and have them too.”

8. Shaked or bust: ToI’s Raoul Wootliff writes that all eyes are on Ayelet Shaked after her return from the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies.

  • “Amid a sleepy election campaign that has largely failed to produce the daily drama that was seen before April’s national vote, speculation over Shaked’s future political home has reached heights rivaling even British Columbia’s Mount Robson,” he writes.
  • Israel Hayom writes that efforts to get Shaked, and her less loved partner Naftali Bennett, to join a united right-wing front of all the major right-wing parties is “the order of the hour.”
  • “There are not enough words in the dictionary to explain the risks that await Israeli society if Likud and the right-wing lose power in upcoming elections,” the paper’s Amnon Lord writes.
  • Perhaps those words can be found in the prayed-for biblical “Book of Trump” that Israel Hayom publisher Miriam Adelson is apparently pushing for.

9. Digging and doubting: In the meantime, there are the existing books, and archaeologists are claiming to have beefed up the Biblical story of future King David fleeing Saul with a find that may be the lost city of Ziklag.

  • “If they’re right, it would bolster the theory that David was more than just a local hilltop chieftain as some researchers claim, and support the theory that he indeed ruled over a united kingdom in the area of Judea, say the researchers,” Haaretz reports.
  • But some researchers are casting doubts on the significance of the find.
  • Bar Ilan University Prof. Aren Maeir tells ToI’s Amanda Borschel-Dan that the claim “is so unacceptable, it’s unbelievable. There is simply no basis for this. I don’t know how he got to it.”
  • Tel Aviv University Prof. Israel Finkelstein also discounts the identification of Ziklag at the Khirbet a-Ra‘i site, ticking off a number of reasons it does not match,
  • “The identification of Ziklag at Khirbet a-Ra‘i can hardly be accepted,” he writes. “Indeed, in the long history of geographical-historical research scholars sought Ziklag further south and/or west of this place.”
  • But Dr. Kyle Keimer of Macquarie University in Sydney says of all the sites suggested as possible Ziklags, this one “checks all the boxes.”
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