The face of convicted Nazi John Demjanjuk appears on the front page of all the Hebrew newspapers this morning alongside news of his death, in Germany, on Saturday. The passing of the man who many still believe to be Ivan the Horrible, the notoriously vicious Treblinka concentration camp guard in the service of the SS, provides an opportunity to revisit his judicial history and re-examine his controversial acquittal by the Supreme Court in 1993. Demjanjuk’s death is also a reminder that time is running out for justice to be done with other Nazi criminals and their Holocaust-era victims.
“The end of Ivan,” reads the main headline in Maariv. Nadav Eyal writes that unlike the Nuremberg trials or the Eichmann trial, Demjanjuk’s trial dealt not with the architects of the Final Solution, but with a man who took an active role in seeing it implemented. Eyal writes that the chance to achieve justice is slipping out of our hands as the remaining few who took part in the Holocaust, either as perpetrators or victims, gradually die out.
Yedioth Ahronoth’s main headline reads: “The end of the Nazi Murderer.” Auschwitz survivor and veteran journalist Noah Kliger laments the fact that Demjanjuk died of natural causes and says he should have been executed 24 years ago after the Jerusalem District Court convicted and sentenced him to death in 1988.
Israel Hayom makes the same point in its main headline, which announces Demjanjuk’s death with the headline: “24 years too late.”
In Haaretz, Demjanjuk’s death receives a relatively minor headline. The article examines the failure of the liberal justice system to properly do justice with the Nazis and their collaborators.
All the papers feature extended coverage of Demjanjuk’s death, including timelines of his legal battles around the globe, on the inside pages.
Another story making front-page headlines today is the return to school of the children of Israel’s southern cities, following a weekend of relative calm in the region. Both Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth announce that since only one rocket was fired from Gaza on Saturday, southern municipalities decided to re-open the schools.
Haaretz’s main front-page story reports on developments on the Iranian front. “The pressure is building: Persian Gulf states refuse to trade in Iranian currency,” reads the headline, relating to early results of new financial sanctions placed on Tehran by the West.
Below the fold Haaretz reports on a Ministerial Legislation Committee’s decision to approve a bill that would permanently waive the necessity of capturing audio and video recordings of security-related police interrogations. The bill, which asserts that recordings could reveal police sources and methods and was advanced by the Ministry of Public Security, would turn a temporary court order approving the waiver into law.
Give peace a chance
While Israeli political leaders have been making headlines ratcheting up the rhetoric on a possible military strike on Iran, Maariv features on Page 13 that some wish to convey a completely different message. Two Tel Aviv graphic designers have launched a Facebook campaign announcing their love for the Iranian people. The two created posters that they placed on the social networking website stating that “We will never bomb your country.” According to the article, the campaign received thousands of positive responses since it was posted over the weekend, from both Israeli and Iranian Facebook users.
Yedioth on Page 10 reports on dozens of IDF soldiers who have turned to loan sharks on the gray market in order to finance their monthly phone bills. According to the article, the army together with the Communication Ministry is now trying to aid soldiers who can’t afford to pay their bills on the stipend they receive as a military salary.
On Page 26 Yedioth reveals a revolution in local tourism trends. After decades in which the southern resort town of Eilat was the favorite local destination for Israeli tourists, a new survey finds that 44 percent of respondents now prefer to travel north to the Galilee. The government survey reports that only 18 percent choose Eilat as their favorite destination, with the Negev in third place at 11%. Six percent said they prefer visiting Jerusalem.
On Page 18 Maariv reports on the expected registration today of the millionth member of the US-based Evangelical Christian pro-Israel Lobby Christians United for Israel. According to the report, the Christian political action committee, founded six years ago, has more members than AIPAC. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to take part in a ceremony in Jerusalem this evening alongside the group’s founder, John Hagee.
In an article that puts a damper on local joy at the bountiful rainfall this year. Haaretz reports on Page 7 on a new study that reveals an 11% drop in rainwater flow into Israeli reservoirs over the last 20 years. The Water Authority report found that overall water levels have fallen due to smaller average rainfalls and predicts even steeper drops in the future due to climate change.
The folly of false comparisons
Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer,writing in Maariv’s opinion pages, slams the nationalistic NGO Im Tirtzu’s “Arab Apartheid Week” campaign, in which the group cast a spotlight on human rights violations by Arab countries to counter critical attacks on Israel during Israel Apartheid Week.
“Naïve me, as a proud Israel and Zionist, I still believe Israel should be compared to Western European and North American states and not to totalitarian states like Syria and Iran. The desperate attempt by the Israeli right to excuse and legitimize the occupation by comparing it to crimes by other countries in the region does not contribute to Israeli advocacy. On the contrary, the very comparison to Uganda, Iran or Syria only harms Israel’s status and places it on equal footing with illegitimate countries and rulers,” writes Oppenheimer.
Smadar Perry writes in Yedioth on Saudi Arabia becoming the dominant moderate voice in the Arab world. “Without us noticing it, amid the upheaval that has rocked the Arab world over the past year, Saudi Arabia captured the place of Egypt, which is self engaged, as the leader of the moderate camp of the Arab world,” she writes, pointing a finger at the proximity of interests shared by Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Iranian threat.
In Haaretz, Oudeh Basharat despairs at the escalation of Israel’s ongoing battles. “Were the history of the conflict to be compressed into a short documentary, it would only result in depression. After all, the crux of the conflict was the Palestinian problem. And now, when things are somehow falling into place, the conflict is moving to a nuclear trajectory. If the Iranian nuclear problem is somehow resolved, who can guarantee that no other threat will emerge?” asks Basharat. “If, in the state’s 64th year, nuclear weapons are central to the conflict, what will be left for future generations?”