Tahrir or Zuccotti?
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Hebrew media review

Tahrir or Zuccotti?

Turkish protests continue to lead coverage, with papers trying to figure out if the demonstrations are more Wall Street or Cairo

A young woman waves a national flag at paramilitary police at the entrance of a road leading to the prime minister's office as Turkish youths shout 'Tayyip, resign!' and clash with security forces in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 1, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Orhan Ozbilici)
A young woman waves a national flag at paramilitary police at the entrance of a road leading to the prime minister's office as Turkish youths shout 'Tayyip, resign!' and clash with security forces in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 1, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Orhan Ozbilici)

A marked lack of Turkish delight dominates Hebrew-language media coverage Monday morning.

Maariv is the most sobering of the four major dailies (unless your name happens to be Recep Tayyip Erdogan) leading off with a Nixonian quote from the Turkish prime minister: “I am not a dictator,” and an analysis/op-ed from Eyal Niv throwing cold water on those who think the Gezi park protests represent the flowering of a Turkish Spring.

“The protests in Turkey are more similar… to the Occupy movement in the US than to Tahrir square in Cairo. In other words, the elites, along with downtrodden political groups, have to taken to the streets because they’ve run out of options for change using traditional political means,” he writes with a big harrumph.

Israel Hayom, on the other hand, is more gung ho about the protests, with a correspondent on the ground in Istanbul trying to capture the liberal and youthful zeitgeist of the demonstrations. It’s not about the park anymore, it seems, but totally now about Erdogan. “Look at all the protesters,” a man named Abdullah is quoted saying. “There are young students here, girls wearing short skirts next to observant women who also don’t want the religious coercion of Erdogan. If Ataturk would see what Erdogan has done to modern Turkey, he would roll over in his grave.”

Yedioth Ahronoth, blasting the quote “Give us back Turkey” across a picture of flag-waving protesters, also has boots on the ground along the Bosporus. Istanbul-based doctoral student Ilkim Buka takes a more romantic look at the violent riots that have spread across the country.

“For the first time in the national history of the state, Turks have come together, without any thought toward ethnic or religious differences, to rebel against the ruling regime. The protesters didn’t take orders from above and aren’t acting on behalf of the army (which has traditionally been the secular vanguard.) This was a movement of the people. The voices of the ‘angry masses’ are heard.”

Kamikaze in Ramallah

Haaretz is the only paper to lead off with the appointment of new Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah, noting that Israeli sources consider him a pragmatist when it comes to peace talks. But the paper’s Barak Ravid thinks by taking the job Hamdallah is essentially taking on a kamikaze mission that can only end in flames.

“The pains and headaches will start chasing Hamdallah starting from this morning,” Ravid writes. “Very quickly he will discover that he is alone in the war. Abbas isn’t interested in the daily management of the Authority. While Hamdallah is fighting a new crisis every day, Abbas will be treading on red carpets around the world and shaking the hands of foreign leaders.”

Israel Hayom reports on some good news for consumers, who will be happy to hear that a number of large chains have decided to eat the rise in sales tax rather than pass it on to the consumer. Among the companies willing to lose an extra .05% of sales are Super-Pharm, Burger Ranch, Castro, Mashbir Letzarchan, Toyota and Toys R’ Us, and many others. “This is the second time we’re absorbing the tax hike. We see the decision as a way to identify with the consumer, and we are doing everything we can do lighten the heavy load of the cost of living,” the CEO of Hamashbir is quoted saying in the paper.

Gossip on Downing Street

Yedioth stays true to its form as a tabloid, filling the bottom half of its front page with celebrity gossip. One half goes to a story about Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy and the other to a secret love affair connected to 10 Downing Street. Most details of the case are still under wraps , but writer Yaniv Halili reports the rumor that at the center of the affair is thought to be David Cameron’s own wife Samantha. You can’t blame Halili for just trying to work hard and get on.

In Haaretz, editor Aluf Benn asks some hard questions about how Israel’s diplomatic and military leaders remember the Holocaust and how that memory colors their decision making: “The connection between the Shoah and current events seems natural and understandable today. But it wasn’t always so. During the Yom Kippur War the IDF found itself in a greatly inferior position: Egypt and Syria pulled off a surprise attack, the air force found it difficult to operate at the fronts, and hundreds of soldiers were killed in the battles to stop the enemy. Nonetheless, even at the most difficult hours, the statesmen and military commanders did not see the Warsaw Ghetto or Majdanek facing them. In the many books that appeared about that war it is possible to find terror and fear, confusion and loss of control — but the enemy is not described as Hitler or Eichmann.”

In Maariv, Shmuel Aboyev of road safety NGO Or Yarok makes an impassioned plea for the Transportation Ministry budget to not be cut, arguing that keeping road safety measures in place could save dozens of lives and billions of shekels.

“In order to stop paying for hospital stays, equipment, rescue, insurance, support, loss of productivity and more damages that normally follow an accident, the state needs to keep the safety budget whole. A small investment will save a ton, and from the money, roads can be made safer.”

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