Terrorist attacks far and near
Hebrew media review

Terrorist attacks far and near

A Thailand bombing and a third West Bank stabbing in as many days take precedence in the press over child prostitution

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.

Destroyed motorbikes pictured at the scene of devastation after a bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok, August 17, 2015.  (AFP/AIDAN JONES)
Destroyed motorbikes pictured at the scene of devastation after a bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok, August 17, 2015. (AFP/AIDAN JONES)

A deadly terrorist attack in Bangkok, Thailand, a major tourist destination for Israelis, which killed 21 and injured scores at a religious shrine makes front page news in the Israeli press on Tuesday. Even though no Israelis were harmed in the incident, a bombing 4,300 miles away takes precedence over the third stabbing of Israeli military personnel in the West Bank in as many days.

Yedioth Ahronoth runs an article with Israeli eyewitness testimonies from the scene in Bangkok, reporting that hundreds of Israeli tourists were in Thailand on vacation and “didn’t believe that terrorism would catch up with them even in the middle of vacation, on the other side of the globe.”

Moshe and Liat Nahmal were a few streets over from the blast, the paper reports. “We heard a loud noise, exactly like a bombing,” Moshe tells the paper. “We saw lots of ambulances and police cars rushing to the scene. We went on vacation and didn’t imagine that on the other side of the world there’d be a terrorist attack. We had a lot of luck, five minutes earlier we were in the exact spot where the attack was. It’s impossible to describe what would have happened had we’d been delayed a few minutes.”

Israel Hayom speaks with another Israeli tourist, 27-year-old Dan Kadosh, who said that he and his girlfriend were at an underground mall, “and when we went outside, we saw a hullabaloo, police. Because we’re not in Israel we were sure that it was a car accident due to the crazy driving of the locals, but because of the presence of the army and the closure of all the streets and the military humvees that were there, we understood it was a terrorist attack. Afterwards we went on the Internet and saw the horrible pictures and we realized we could have been victims.”

Unlike the tabloids, Haaretz runs a photo of the chaotic Bangkok scene but buries its coverage on Page 8. Far more prominent, albeit below the fold, is its report on the third attack in the West Bank in as many days, in which a Palestinian man attempted to stab a Border Police officer and was shot dead. The paper combines its report on the incident, in which the officer suffered light injuries, with the state’s suggestion that it may release hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Allaan on condition that he leave the country for four years.

Yedioth Ahronoth writes about stabbings of Israeli military personnel that “it would appear that it’s already turning into a daily report” and says that the “Duma effect” is in full force in the West Bank, referring to retributive attacks on Israelis in response to the firebombing of a Palestinian home last month by suspected Jewish terrorists.

The paper reports that residents of the northern West Bank, particularly the settlements near Tapuah Junction, where the recent attacks have taken place, protest the deterioration in the security situation. “We’ve already gotten used to living in this reality and already don’t expect the government to act and we only rely on ourselves,” Moishe Shimon, resident of the Yitzhar settlement, tells the paper.

Israel Hayom reports that the Palestinian was 25-year-old Muhammad Amsha, from a village near Jenin, who had no record and didn’t belong to any terrorist organization. “This fact again points to the strengthening of ‘lone wolf’ terrorism,” the paper concludes.

Top story in Haaretz is a report that Israel has at least 970 underage female prostitutes, and 250 underage male prostitutes, only a small fraction of whom are receiving social services from the government. The paper says that the average age for teens to enter prostitution rings in Israel is 13 or 14, but authorities are aware of even younger children involved.

Buried on Page 9 of Israel Hayom is a report on a statement by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a recent speech in which he said that the fate of the Iranian nuclear agreement reached last month between Tehran and world powers “was not clear” because it had yet to be approved by lawmakers in Iran or the US.

He said that despite the agreement, the deal wouldn’t allow the US to increase its influence in the Islamic Republic. “Washington imagines that it can use the deal to find a way to increase its influence in Iran,” Khamenei is quoted saying in the paper. “This was their objective, but we’ve closed this path and we’ll make sure it stays closed. We won’t let the US influence our economy, politics or culture. We are still opposed to this invasion with all our strength, which today is great.”

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