Talk. Lots of talk
Hebrew media review

Talk. Lots of talk

‘These last few days are driving us crazy,’ columnist writes of Iran, Syria chatter; Holocaust survivor makes her point

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu (right) talks with Moshe Ya'alon (center). (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Benjamin Netanyahu (right) talks with Moshe Ya'alon (center). (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As Israel names a new submarine and calls for military intervention in Syria grow louder around the world, the Hebrew dailies dedicate lots of their space to domestic issues. We’ve got a Holocaust survivor accusing MKs of neglecting her, a reform shut down by the Education Ministry and a sigh of relief that no labor strike is happening. For now.

Iran “hasn’t yet crossed the red line,” reads Israel Hayom‘s main headline, quoting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Monday statements and using them as a segue to the daily’s central feature — the inauguration of Israel’s newest submarine, the INS Rahav.

The Dolphin-class sub — Israel’s fifth — will arrive in Haifa in 2014. It’s a “multipurpose tool with many abilities, which can be adapted for a number of varied operations,” the paper says, reminding readers that foreign reports have said Israel’s underwater fleet provides it with a “second strike” capability in case of a nuclear confrontation.

Maariv also leads with Netanyahu’s quotes, juxtaposing his latest assessment with a contradictory one voiced by Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, a retired head of IDF Military Intelligence, who last week said Iran had essentially crossed the “red line” set by Israel regarding its nuclear activity.

Veteran columnist Shalom Yerushalmi writes that Israeli officials need to shut their mouths and keep quiet — not try and make some political hay as the situations in Iran and Syria continue to play out.

“Everyone,” he writes, mentioning current and former prime ministers, Shin Bet heads and politicians, “is dancing around this poisonous bonfire.” Over the years, he says, hundreds of people have expressed their opinion regarding Iran’s nuclear program and Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons, “but these last few days are driving us crazy.”

Haaretz, too, leads with regional military dilemmas, quoting a top defense official who said Israel “has no interest” in pushing for American military intervention in Syria.

Israel doesn’t want to be perceived as taking sides in the Syrian civil war, the unnamed source told the paper. It shouldn’t ask Washington to take any action regarding the country’s chemical weapons — not even securing them — because that would be interpreted as siding with the rebels against President Bashar Assad, he said.

Yedioth Ahronoth dedicates much of its front page to a Holocaust survivor who, at a Knesset committee, accused Israel’s legislators of not caring for her and other survivors. The headline cites 83-year-old Dora Roth’s charge: “What you’re doing to Holocaust survivors is a crime.”

“There are 240,000 survivors left; let us die with dignity,” Roth told the MKs in an emotional session. “A Holocaust survivor who has no money for food? That’s your disgrace.”

On the same topic, Maariv calls the maltreatment of Holocaust survivors the Zionist movement’s mistake. Writer Guy Meroz points a finger at Israeli society and says Roth and her friends aren’t furious only at the politicians, but rather are “fed up with us. All of us.”

Haaretz and Yedioth dedicate large stories to a rejected reform, after the Education Ministry decided against transferring vacation days from the long summer and Passover vacations to Fridays and thus instituting a five-day school week.

The idea was raised in an attempt to bridge what parents described as a ridiculous discrepancy between the number of vacation days schoolchildren are given and the average working parent’s days off: excluding national holidays, Israeli children enjoy some 70 days of vacation more than their parents.

“The end’s clear, or almost clear,” Ariella Ringel Hoffman writes in Yedioth. Hoffman, a mother of four school-aged children and leader of a parent organization pushing for reforms regarding the school year and vacation structure, slams the teachers’ unions for making reforms — the wrong ones.

“What do we have left?” she asks after laying out the many promises given over the years, none of which came to fruition. “A slight hope that the new Education Minister Shai Piron will take action: cut the talking and cut the vacation days.”

All the papers report on Monday’s meeting between Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Histadrut leader Ofer Eini, and a sigh of relief can almost be heard from the headlines declaring that there will be “No strike, for now.”

Lapid and Eini, who heads the country’s largest labor union, discussed the planned cuts and reforms proposed by the treasury in an attempt to decrease the country’s NIS 39 billion deficit.

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