Till we meet again: 6 things to know for November 4
Israel media review

Till we meet again: 6 things to know for November 4

Concern around Gaza violence tapers off in favor of Iran, domestic violence rears its head again, and Israelis may be ready to stop saying goodbye to forks after 1 use

A Palestinian man holds a child under an umbrella during rainfall in Gaza City, October 26, 2019. (AP Photo/ Hatem Moussa)
A Palestinian man holds a child under an umbrella during rainfall in Gaza City, October 26, 2019. (AP Photo/ Hatem Moussa)

1. The north is the new south: Barely 48 hours have passed since the south was engulfed in a round of violence, but many outside of the rocket-battered region seem ready to move on, for now, and turn attention back to Iran and the north.

  • According to Channel 12 news, a security cabinet meeting ended with ministers coming away with the feeling that the current round of violence had ended.
  • According to the channel, Education Minister Rafi Peretz tried to push the idea of reviving targeted killings of top terror bosses, but other ministers call the idea, which would likely spark more tit-for-tat violence and maybe even a fresh war, “nonsense.”
  • According to Israel Hayom, cabinet ministers are keen to avoid any flareup in the south because of northern tensions with Iran and Hezbollah “which are even more serious and more urgent.”
  • According to several reports, not just the south was discussed at the meeting, but other arenas as well, likely meaning rising tensions with Iran-backed forces, particularly along the northern border.
  • Haaretz calls the meeting “exceptional,” given the fact that there have been three in the course of a week and caretakers governments normally don’t convene the security cabinet at all.

2. Girding for war anyway: Not everybody is on the peace in the south train. At the end of the meeting, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio that while Israel had been hoping to reach an arrangement with Hamas before the next round of fighting, “it seems we will need to have a large military operation and only then go for an arrangement [for quiet with Hamas].”

  • Yedioth Ahronoth reports that cabinet members were presented with a number of operational options, and did not express any opposition, though it does not expand on what those operational options are.
  • Walla news’s Amir Buhbut accuses Hamas of “taking advantage of the quiet to prepare for war.”
  • He notes that Israel is making gains at neutralizing the tunnel and rocket threats, “but for now the terror groups have not thrown up their hands … Given the scale of the IDF’s response one can figure out that Hamas, like other terror groups, is not resting for a moment and is developing longer range rockets with heavier warheads. The test launches into the sea each week are impossible to hide, so that the limits of their technology developments are open for all to see.”

3. Dr. Death: A bloody attack in the Eshkol region outside of Gaza does grab many headlines, but this time it is one of suspected domestic violence. A woman, Esty Aharonovitch, is found shot to death and her husband, caught after his car flipped over following a search, is suspect number one.

  • Did I say suspect? That’s a word you won’t see much in many corners of Israel’s press, where her husband, whose name has not been released and whose face is blurred in all press reports, has been tried and convicted.
  • “The doctor who turned into a killer,” reads a headline in Yedioth, as tabloidy as they come.
  • The paper describes the Dr. Killer as having had a life ripped out of the pages of a Hollywood script, serving as a US Coast Guard Medic, a professor at Johns Hopkins and Sinai hospitals in Baltimore and heading humanitarian missions to war zones in East Asia. According to the paper, about 15 years ago he gave all that up and went to live “with a tribe of Indians somewhere in North America,” and later wrote a book about an aid mission to Africa, turning him into a in-demand lecturer. And then he killed his wife.
  • Israel Hayom also looks into his history with some more facts about his past, and quotes from an interview he gave a few years ago in which he said that “it’s not always great at home. You can’t always be a good dad, or a good husband. There are demands of the family that you cannot always meet.”
  • Israel Hayom reports that the husband took off in his vehicle with the intention of killing himself, but police were able to trace his phone and eventually found him after he crashed his car into a ditch.

4. Leave him: Channel 12 news reports that the husband did the deed, allegedly, after receiving a court order related to divorce proceedings that threw him into a rage.

  • In Yedioth, columnist Anat Lev-Adler tries to put herself in the shoes of the victim and her alleged killer.
  • “This isn’t the first time she told you she wants to leave … she just didn’t guess it would be the last time she would tell you that when suddenly, boom! The primal survival artery in your skull explodes and tens of thousands of years of evolution sink like a stone in the sea when your primitive survivalist head tells you the end has come,” she writes.
  • “Unfortunately, there are many cases of murder when the man cannot deal with his significant other wanting to leave, and women aren’t careful to escape the terror in time,” she continues.
  • Haaretz quotes the head of the community where the couple lived, Talmei Eliyahu near the Gaza and Egypt borders, as saying they were “normal people.” Another neighbor is quoted saying that they were not super involved with the community and had a “small social circle.”
  • As for the victim, “Esther was a beloved friend and full of life, well known in the community,” Channel 13 quotes community member Riki Peretz saying.

5. Hack attack: The Russian hacker at the center of a diplomatic hate triangle gives a rare interview to Haaretz, telling the broadsheet that he has no connection to the Kremlin.

  • Alexei Burkov is being held in Israel and is awaiting extradition to the US, where he is wanted on charges of running an online scam that netted millions. But he is also hotly sought by Russia, with many believing that Moscow is holding an Israeli backpacker found with a dimebag of weed as a bargaining chip for his release. The Kremlin’s intense desire to get him back has led to speculation that he may be a Russian intelligence agent, and has put Jerusalem in the stickiest of situations.
  • The paper only quotes a few words from Borokov, who may not have offered much more. The jailed hacker calls allegations that he works for the Kremlin or intervened in the US elections fake news, and calls a swap with jailed Israeli Naama Issachar a good idea.
  • The paper also reports on US Secret Service documents it obtained, which it says sheds light on “Burkov’s centrality to the network of Eastern European hackers, some of whom were involved in internet crime for almost two decades.”

6. Stick a fork in it: A poll by the Israel Democracy Institute shows that most Israelis support banning single use plastics.

  • The poll also shows that 35 percent of Israelis consider climate change to be the most pressing issue for the country, a number that would perhaps be low in much of the West, but is surprisingly high given the lack of attention paid to it as compared to security threats, cost of living and other issues.
  • However, Haaretz reports that the IDF and other state bodies, like schools and city halls, are not on board with Israel’s drive to throw away its plastics spoons and sporks, despite increasing pressure from everyday joes.
  • “According to many people Haaretz spoke with, the army’s use of throwaway dishes has actually risen significantly in recent years. Both in the field and at small outposts, meals are served on them, and the same goes for meals at many bases; sometimes, only lunch is eaten off reusable dishes there,” the paper reports.
  • According to the poll, the only demographic group that does not want to ban plastics are ultra-Orthodox. But they will be able to use their plastic cutlery if they can find some imported kosher pork, which is now the only kind of pork allowed to be brought in.
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