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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #2427/01 3051029
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P 311029Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8948
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1157
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4933
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5356
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4573
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2946
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5336
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2192
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0417
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9152
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6641
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1568
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002427

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

--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

1. U.S. Elections

2. Mideast

-------------------------
Key stories in the media:
-------------------------

The Jerusalem Post cited a Post/ Smith Research poll, which found
that the Rightist bloc led by Likud will defeat the Left, led by
Kadima and Labor, by eight Knesset seats (see below). The Jerusalem
Post reported that Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is not likely
to accept the chairmanship of KadimaQs election campaign that Livni
offered him yesterday. HaQaretz reported that Likud Chairman
Benjamin Netanyahu intends to reserve a secure spot in his party
list for former justice minister Dan Meridor, a moderate, despite
reservations in Likud. Maariv reported that moderate MK Rabbi
Michael Melchior, who chairs the Education, Culture, and Sports
Committee and the Social-Environmental lobby in the Knesset and has
been a faithful ally of the Labor Party since 1999, may join Kadima.
HaQaretz reported that leaders of the four right-wing factions
making up the National Union-National Religious Party (NRP) list --
NRP, Tekuma, Achi, and Moledet's religious wing -- are expected to
announce their formal merger into a party next week. Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe reported that procedural hitches are impeding the
merger process. HaQaretz reported that a group of Israeli Arab
politicians seeks to establish a new party that would represent all
members of their fragmented community in the upcoming general
elections. Maariv and other media reported that Science, Culture,
and Sports Minister Raleb Majadele (Labor) might join a new Arab
party.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Senator Barack Obama has told
Israeli public figures whom he met recently that he has devised an
outline for his Middle East policy as president that is based on
recognition that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
is necessary to the resolution of the Iranian problem. HaQaretz and
The Jerusalem Post cited an exit poll released yesterday as saying
that American citizens who voted in the U.S. presidential elections
via absentee ballots from Israel favored Sen. John McCain.
Seventy-six percent of those polled by the Jerusalem-based firm
Keevon said they voted for the Republican candidate, while 24
percent said they cast their ballots for Democratic candidate Barack
Obama. The Jerusalem Post reported that Mitchell Barak from Keevon
immediately acknowledged that the poll had Qover sampledQ voters
from the Orthodox community.
Under the pretext of a phone call to his wife, the late PM Yitzhak
RabinQs assassin Yigal Amir granted interviews to Channel 2-TV and
Channel 10-TV, which were broadcast last night. When asked about
who influence him at the time of the assassination, Amir named
former PM Ariel Sharon, the late cabinet ministers Rafael Eitan and
Rehavam Zeevi, and all those who said that the Oslo Accord was a
disaster. The interviews reopened the media debate over the
assassination.

HaQaretz quoted a senior GOI official as saying that PM Ehud Olmert
intends to resume indirect, Turkish-mediated negotiations with Syria
soon. The official added that talks between the Prime Minister's
Bureau and the bureau of Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be
held next week to try to coordinate an agreed-on date for what would
be the fifth round of indirect talks with the Syrians. Yediot
reported that Olmert has conveyed a message to Syria that the talks
may be resumed. Meanwhile, HaQaretz reported that FM and Kadima
chairwoman Tzipi Livni called for increased international pressure
on Syria. Israel Radio quoted Likud as saying that Olmert has no
right to engage in diplomatic negotiations.

The Jerusalem Post quoted an Egyptian security official as saying
yesterday that police have discovered eight missiles in an
underground bunker in the northern Sinai.

The Jerusalem Post reported that U.S. Middle East security
coordinator Gen. James L. Jones, long expected to produce a document
spelling out IsraelQs security needs after the creation of a
Palestinian state, will not in the end present the Bush
administration with a large-scale report.

HaQaretz reported that yesterday ultra-Orthodox legislator and
Jerusalem mayoral candidate Meir Porush promised that if he won the
municipal elections, he would promote the construction of Jewish
neighborhoods in the city's eastern quarter.

HaQaretz reported that, with just minutes to spare in a 24-hour time
frame granted by High Court justices, Hebron settlers submitted, in
the form of an audio tape, what they called new and dramatic
evidence in the case regarding a disputed house in the city that is

claimed by both settlers and Palestinians. The Jerusalem Post also
reported on the settlersQ claim.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Rabbi David Rosen, director of the
American Jewish CommitteeQs Department for Interreligious Affairs,
told the newspaper that Pope Benedict XVI may reconsider moving
ahead with the beatification process that would prepare
Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII for beatification.

Major media reported that yesterday PM Olmert resolved the higher
education crisis by ordering that 515 million shekels (about $ 139
million) be transferred to the universities.

Leading media reported that a 3,000-year-old ceramic shard,
containing five lines of proto-Canaanite script, may the oldest
Hebrew inscription ever found. The shard, discovered near the Elah
Valley, could confirm the existence of a Jewish kingdom in Israel
between 1,000 and 975 BCE. Also, a unique seal from the First
Temple period, 1,006-586 BCE, was found recently in JerusalemQs Old
City, bearing a Hebrew name and decorated in the Assyrian style.

Leading media reported that veteran broadcast journalist Ram Evron
died yesterday at the age of 73.

The Jerusalem PostQs poll conducted on Wednesday found that Israelis
would vote as follows (results in Knesset seats): Likud: 27;
Kadima:27; Labor Party: 14: Yisrael Beiteinu: 11; Shas: 11; Arab
parties: 10; National Union Party and National-Religious Party:9;
United Torah Judaism: 6; Meretz:5.


-------------------
1. U.S. Elections:
-------------------

Summary:
--------

Columnist and former Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Sarid wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: QObama is the great black hope
of humankind, after two terms of disappointment and a sense of
betrayal.... Only one state is still interested in McCain's services
-- Israel.

Columnist Jonathan Rosenblum wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post: QAn America that more closely resembles Western
Europe will not be good for Israel.

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

I. "The Favor Bush Did Obama"

Columnist and former Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Sarid wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/31): QBush did Obama a favor
by preceding him. Now Obama is the great black hope of humankind,
after two terms of disappointment and a sense of betrayal. His
candidacy could only grow out of such deep, frightening despair,
while the candidacy of the Qnatural heirQ -- John McCain -- became
intolerable. Four or eight more years of Republican hegemony mean
continuing the same policy.... Only one state is still interested in
McCain's services -- Israel. Only Israel insists on continuing to
live in a bubble. It is wrong, as usual. Bush was bad for the
world and especially for us. America's ongoing wallowing in Iraq
and its loss of deterrence power are bad for Israel, which isn't
pulling out of anywhere. Israel is staying here, in the Middle
East. Bush has forgotten us and the Palestinians. He refused to
advance the talks with Syria and ignored -- like us -- the pan-Arab
peace initiative lying on the table since 2002. McCain will be
another such friend, whose friendship ensures calamity. Nobody can
say what kind of president Obama will be, but at least he has the
benefit of the doubt. McCain, on the other hand, does not bring new
hope. Not even dubious hope.


II. "The End of the Special Relationship?"

Columnist Jonathan Rosenblum wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (10/31): QObama presented himself to Europeans last
summer as a citizen of the world, one of them.... He shares the
EuropeansQ contempt for the terminology of good and evil.... And he
expresses understanding for the grievances of the perpetrators of
evil Q- Hamas, Hizbullah, even the perpetrators of 9/11, which he
characteristically portrayed as part of an Qunderlying struggle
between worlds of plenty and worlds of wantQ (despite the affluent
background of the attackers). He voted against a Senate bill to
designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist
organization.... An America that more closely resembles Western
Europe will not be good for Israel. Western Europeans consistently
rate Israel the greatest threat to world peace. And they are
remarkably cavalier about IsraelQs defense of its own existence.

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: QOlmert does not regret his part in
breaking the boycott of Syria, but he fears that if the talks should
reach a stalemate, Israel will lose what it was supposed to receive
in exchange.

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: QIt would be
better to leave Jerusalem in the hands of a responsible
ultra-Orthodox man than to give it to a man of the right who lacks
political wisdom.

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

I. "The Syrian Bridegroom"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/31): QWhen the new administration
enters the White House, American policy will change as well. The
crisis that erupted this week between the two countries, after
American helicopters attacked a target within Syria, will not
prevent the thaw. Perhaps the opposite: if Syria swallowed the
attack on the nuclear reactor and the assassination of Mughniyah,
there is no reason for it not to swallow the American attack.
Olmert does not regret his part in breaking the boycott of Syria,
but he fears that if the talks should reach a stalemate, Israel will
lose what it was supposed to receive in exchange. A stalemate on
IsraelQs part opens the door to all kinds of dangers: Hizbullah
could go back to work. The border with Syria could heat up. We
should remember that both countries have each other by the throat.
Israel can turn Syria into a heap of ruins. Syria can turn life
here into hell. It would only take five rockets per day, in
sensitive places. When Rabin gave the deposit to [Warren]
Christopher and Netanyahu gave his deposit to [Ronald] Lauder, the
decision was not brought up for a vote in the cabinet or in the
security cabinet or reported to the public. When the government
functions as a transitional government, the situation changes
substantially. The Israelis, including those who are willing to
cede the entire Golan Heights, will respond uncomfortably. Many of
them will tell Olmert: You have no mandate.

II. "Vote QNoQ on Barkat"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (10/31): QMany
secular Jerusalem residents, among the voters for center and even
left-wing parties, have chosen to ignore [secular candidate Nir]
Barkat's right-wing style under the assumption/hope that his
rhetoric will pry Jerusalem government out of ultra-Orthodox hands.
Therefore Labor and Meretz are calling on the secular public to vote
for Barkat for mayor over [ultra-Orthodox] rival Meir Porush.... A
few days ago Barkat toured the East Jerusalem village of Anata,
accompanied by two proponents of the plans for Jewish settlement in
the heart of Arab neighborhoods.... Barkat promised that if he wins,
he will promote his companions' initiative to establish a Jewish
neighborhood in Anata, already named Eastern Gate. With utter scorn
for voter intelligence, the leading secular candidate explained that
building the neighborhood will solve the city's Qshortage of housing
for students and young people.Q A glance at a map reveals that this
is yet another plan to tighten the QJewish continuumQ between
Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim while provoking the Palestinian
leadership and violating the state's promises to the U.S
administration.... The secular minority remaining in the city faces
an unenviable choice between Barkat, Porush, and [controversial
oligarch] Arkady Gaidamak. Given the options, it would be better to
leave Jerusalem in the hands of a responsible ultra-Orthodox man
than to give it to a man of the right who lacks political wisdom.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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