The Headlines: Jews and non-Jews
> The government is likely to approve today a proposed bill, which will require all new non-Jewish citizens to declare their loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic” state. Ha’aretz [Heb] and Yedioth focus their criticism today on Ehud Barak, leader of the Labor party, who supports the law despite opposition from all his party’s ministers. The tone of coverage in Ma’ariv and Yisrael Hayom [Heb] is indifferent and supportive, respectively (but not respectfully).
> The head of Elad, an organization which promotes the settlement of Jews in Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, hit with his car two Palestinian boys who threw rocks at him. Coverage is largely sympathetic to his claim, that he was ambushed and at risk, and did not intentionally run over the children. Imagine what would have happened if the Arab driver, who was attacked by an ultra-orthodox stone-throwing crowd, on his way from the hospital on Yom Kippur, would have run over a couple of kids?
> The Arab League backed the decision by Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, to end direct talks with Israel unless the settlement freeze is renewed. They also gave Obama a month to solve the problem, or else they will consider unilateral options, such as appealing for international recognition of an independent Palestinian state. Ha’aretz claims that one of the options under consideration is dismantling the Palestinian Authority and handing responsibility back to Israel. According to Ma’ariv, an Israeli Foreign Ministry report blames [Heb] the US for the crisis in the talks.
> The government has agreed to support a law requiring a plebiscite to approve withdrawal from territories annexed to Israel (i.e. East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, but not the West Bank). Yedioth presents this (in combination with the loyalty oath) as a gift to the right, to placate it over expected concessions regarding the settlement freeze.
> Two Hamas terrorists, apparently responsible for the killing of four Israeli civilians, were killed by the IDF in Hebron. The prime minister says justice was done, and the newspapers say a score was settled. I do not mourn the deaths of dangerous murderers. However, even if, in this case, there was no other choice, it is unfortunate this evil necessity is celebrated as revenge. Meanwhile, Dubai has made little headway in its investigation into the assassination of a senior Hamas terrorist, killed on its territory, probably by Mossad agents.
The Sidelines: We could definitely be more humane
> Yedioth’s centerfold is about the crisis of the Humanities in Israeli universities. Among the solutions: a bit more money, required humanities courses for students of other faculties, making degree-holders more hirable.
> A Sudanese refugee’s admission to law school demonstrates the potential benefits to Israel from changing its brutal and xenophobic policy towards refugees and other migrants (Yedioth).
> Yedioth’s 24 Hours supplement profiles an Ethiopian Jewish Rabbi that serves a white Jewish congregation in the southern town of Kiryat Gat.
> Ultra-orthodox rabbis plan [Heb] to lift their ban on the internet.
> Another near-collision [Heb] above Israel’s badly mismanaged national airport.
> Settlers demand the resignation of former air force commander and the current CEO of El Al, Israel’s biggest airline. They condemn his membership in a movement that supports evacuation of settlements, while recognizing the settlers’ sacrifice in losing their homes (Yedioth, Mamon).
> A former Israeli ambassador boycotts events in the settlements (Yedioth).
> An senior Ultra-Orthodox rabbi claims [Heb] that renewing the settlement freeze will bring about a second holocaust.
> The OECD protests comments by the Israeli tourism minister, who claimed that the organization’s event in Jerusalem constitutes recognition of the “unified” city as Israel’s capital.
> 100 reservists write the Chief of Staff, calling on him to oppose the Court-Martial conviction of soldiers who used a Palestinian child as a human shield during the Gaza war (Yedioth).
> The Finance Minister opposes trade union demands for an 11% increase in public sector pay over the next three years (Yedioth, Mamon).
> Foreign newspapers criticize the centralization of Israel’s private sector. In a related story, a government official argues against lax sentences for cartelists (TheMarker).
> An investment company executive criticizes neglect of low-tech industries (TheMarker).
> A bill has been proposed to ban the import of Israeli flags from abroad (Yedioth).
The Bottom Lines: The siege on Gaza is not a security measure
> The Israeli human rights organization, Gisha, will testify [Heb] before the Israeli committee investigating the Gaza flotilla. In a letter to the committee, the organization points to various statements by Israeli officials indicating that the siege is not a security measure, and is instead a tool to pressure the civilian population. In a separate report, Gisha debunks Israeli claims about humanitarian relaxations of the blockade. The families of those killed on the flotilla want the International Criminal Court to investigate.
> The police is considering [Heb] deploying paramilitary Border Patrol units, notorious for their brutality, in Arab neighborhoods and towns, in an effort to confiscate illegal weapons. Meanwhile, only Israeli radio has reported [Heb] an army drill, simulating the forced annexation of Israeli Arab towns to the Palestinian territories, and massive internments camps for Israeli Arabs.