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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #2315/01 2841047
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P 101047Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1090
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4852
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5281
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4493
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2865
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5255
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2115
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0340
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9085
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RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1496
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7560
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002315

STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR NEA STAFF

SECDEF WASHDC FOR USDP/ASD-PA/ASD-ISA
HQ USAF FOR XOXX
DA WASHDC FOR SASA
JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR PA
CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL FOR POLAD/USIA ADVISOR
COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE FOR PAO/POLAD
COMSIXTHFLT FOR 019

JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

Please note: There will be no Tel Aviv Media Reaction report on
Tuesday, October 14, 2008, due to the Sukkoth holiday.

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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All mainstream media reported that riots among Jewish and Arab
residents erupted in the northern town of Acre (Akko) on the eve of
Yom Kippur on Wednesday. The riots, some of the worst the city has
seen in years, began after an Arab resident of the Old City of Acre
drove his car into a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in eastern
Acre, where he said he lived. Jewish teens at the scene said the
Arab man was deliberately making noise and smoking cigarettes. The
teens attacked the man and shortly afterwards, a group of Arab teens
arrived at the scene, igniting a riot. Police faced off against
hundreds of Jewish rioters who were chanting "death to Arabs" and
trying to block the city's main thoroughfare. The clashes resumed
Thursday evening at the conclusion of the holiday. The media cited
diametrically opposed views about the riots, as expressed by
right-wing Knesset members and Israeli Arab MKs.

Maariv reported that a Hamas detainee had warned Shin Bet hours
before the abduction of Gilad Shalit, but that the IDF claimed that
the information lacked precision. HaQaretz reported that outgoing
PM Ehud Olmert has said in private conversations in recent weeks
that it is a mistake to link the issue of Shalit's release to the
cease-fire in Gaza. According to the daily, Olmert has told
officials in meetings on the matter that Israel must choose between
moving ahead on Shalit's release by applying massive pressure to
Hamas -- which might lead to a breakdown of the cease-fire and a
renewal of Qassam fire on the Negev -- and a freeze on the Shalit
release and quiet in Sderot and the communities close to Gaza.
HaQaretz quoted sources close to Olmert as saying that as long as
things are quiet, Hamas has no incentive to move ahead on releasing
Shalit. The sources have also criticized DM Ehud Barak, who pushed
for a cease-fire at any cost, saying the cease-fire perhaps should
have been delayed until progress was made on Shalit's release.
The Jerusalem Post quoted the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera as
saying that Imad MughniyahQs successor as HizbullahQs chief military
commander is Muhammad Riza Zahdi, a.k.a. Hassan Mahdawi, who in the
late 1980s served in the Iranian Embassy in Beirut.

Major media reported that Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei
Nesterenko suggested yesterday that Moscow will not sell advanced
anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. The Jerusalem Post reported that
senior diplomatic officials in Jerusalem expressed satisfaction at
the news. Makor Rishon reported that, as Israel is seeking an
alternative to the dwindling Egyptian gas, Israel has suggested that
Russia provide it with gas through a pipeline.

The media reported that the first meeting between the negotiating
teams of Labor and Kadima will take place today. The media expect a
rapprochement between the parties.

Maariv reported that Shin Bet has decided to pardon Zecharia
Zubeidi, the most famous wanted man in the territories.

HaQaretz reported that the number of Israeli Arab recruits to the
IDF has increased dramatically in the first nine months of 2008.
The rise in the Bedouin recruitment rate is attributed to Bedouin's
difficulty in finding well-paid jobs outside the military and
problems with the local authorities. The IDF has also improved its
treatment of Bedouin army veterans and is helping them find
employment. The army refused to provide accurate figures, but the
number of recruits is estimated to have increased by 50 to 100 from
the beginning of the year, bringing the total number of recruits in
2008 to some 300. The rate of non-Bedouin Arabs' recruitment has
also increased in recent years, and an officer in the IDF's Human
Resources Branch said he hoped that by next year their recruitment
figure will reach 350, equaling the 2003 rate. Another significant
increase in recruitment is expected next month.

Yediot reported that the government will decide on Sunday to name a
national site after the late cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi, who was
assassinated by Palestinian activists in 2001. Zeevi publicly
advocated the transfer of 3.3 million Palestinians from the West
Bank and Gaza to Arab nations.

HaQaretz (Hebrew Ed.) bannered the collapse on Wall Street and
reported that the U.S. administration is considering nationalizing
banks.
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Mideast:
--------

Summary:
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The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QThe
most constructive step the next Israeli government can take -- once
it is finally in place, and preferably before the next [U.S.]
president is inaugurated -- would be to announce where Israel draws
its Qred lines.

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: QOnly if Livni turns out to be a weak leader
who has difficulty making decisions, and if she disappoints her
supporters, will people perhaps go back to voting Labor.

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: QThe world financial crisis is playing in [LivniQs favor].
It is impossible to continue playing around with [government]
coalition contacts as if there were no collapse around them.

Ha'aretz editorialized: Q[Israel] must exercise its authority to
maintain public safety and repair the [Church of the Holy
Sepulcher], taking great care not to intervene or take a stand in
the fundamental dispute between the [Ethiopian and Egyptian
(Coptic)] churches.


Block Quotes:
-------------

I. "Four More Weeks"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/10):
QThis American election was always bound to hinge on domestic, not
foreign policy, issues.... That said, it remains hugely important to
all Israelis that the next American president be personally
empathetic and diplomatically supportive to our cause. The Bush
administration has requested $2.55 billion in security assistance
for Israel -- part of a new 10-year $30 billion security package.
Whatever the issue -- Iran, Hamas, or Hizbullah -- Jerusalem needs a
friend in the White House. Fortunately, both candidates define
themselves as pro-Israel. Frankly, we hope Obama clarifies his
attitude toward borders and settlements to reassure us that an Obama
administration would never pressure Israel back to the 1949
Armistice Lines. We'd also value hearing a similar message from
John McCain. Of course, we can't ask more of Obama or McCain than
from our own government. The world knows where the Palestinian
Authority stands -- intransigently in our view -- on the issues of
borders, refugees and Jerusalem. So the most constructive step the
next Israeli government can take -- once it is finally in place, and
preferably before the next president is inaugurated -- would be to
announce where Israel draws its Qred lines.

II. "Time Is Running"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (10/10): QThe global economic crisis is threatening to
destroy the lifestyle to which we have been accustomed over the past
decade. On the other hand, it may hasten the formations of the
Livni government -Q even with Likud. If this goes on at the current
pace, a focused call on Benjamin Netanyahu to harness attempts to
draw water from the sinking ship could fall on attentive ears....
The world financial crisis is playing in [LivniQs favor]. It is
impossible to continue playing around with [government] coalition
contacts as if there were no collapse around them, and to leave the
Israeli economy to the mercy of [Finance Minister] Roni Bar-On Q-
with all due respect.

III. "Requiem for the Labor Party"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/10): QThe Labor Party is fast advancing
toward the end of its historic role and its descent from Israel's
political stage.... The Ashkenazim and the rich who fled Labor
because of Amir Peretz into the open arms of Kadima and the
PensionersQ Party have meanwhile fallen in love with Livni and do
not want to return. Labor has nothing to offer them.... In the
Israel after Olmert's resignation, Barak is the one who can anoint
kings, and he has to coose between Livni and Netanyahu, between the
inxperienced star and the ideological rival. Whichever way he
chooses, he will be able to remain defese minister, but he will
sacrifice his party. Lbor has only one chance left to be saved
from poitical burial. Only if Livni turns out to be a wek leader
who has difficulty making decisions, and if she disappoints her
supporters, will people perhaps go back to voting Labor.

IV. "Saving Christianity from Itself"

Ha'aretz editorialized (10/10): QIsrael's responsibility for the
holy places in Jerusalem sometimes involves it in disputes and power
struggles between religious communities. There is no better example
than the centuries-old dispute between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
and the Coptic Church over the control of the Deir al-Sultan
Monastery on the roof of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City.... Due
to the [material] risk to the lives of the monks and visitors and
the danger to one of the world's holiest sites, the government must
not neglect the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It must exercise its
authority to maintain public safety and repair the building, taking
great care not to intervene or take a stand in the fundamental
dispute between the [Ethiopian and Egyptian (Coptic)] churches.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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