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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2810/01 3580938
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240938Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4748
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEADWD/DA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0075
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2986
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 7042
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7246
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6483
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 5151
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7343
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4100
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2325
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0978
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8497
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3509
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7482
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9568
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2303
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 3405
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002810

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

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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 media led with a possible split in Kadima that would bolster
Likud. Maariv banners PM Benjamin NetanyahuQs Qrevenge plan,
saying that the PM does not forgive former PM Ariel Sharon for
creating Kadima and crushing Likud. Yediot reported that SharonQs
son Gilad appealed Kadima members not to leave the party Qfor his
fatherQs sake.Q Last night Israel TV reported that six Kadima
Knesset members have initialed a request to leave their faction.
The media reported that Kadima MK Eli Aflalo intends to form a
one-man faction. HaQaretz reported that Kadima chair Tzipi Livni
and MK Shaul Mofaz are waging a Qproxy war over the party
leadership.Q In an unrelated development, The Jerusalem Post
reported that PM Netanyahu told the Knesset plenum yesterday that in
the face of the Iranian nuclear threat, concerted attacks in
IsraelQs right to exist, and a stalled peace process, it was
imperative for the opposition to support the government.

The media reported that Hamas will respond in a few days to IsraelQs
prisoner swap offer. Israeli media echo reports in media outlets in
Gaza yesterday that a Hamas delegation would head from Gaza to Cairo
today, and then to Damascus, where they would meet with members of
Hamas' political wing there to discuss their response to what Israel
has put on the table. The Jerusalem Post quoted a senior European
official as saying yesterday that it is Qaltogether prematureQ to
talk about deporting to Europe any prisoners released in a possible
swap.

The Jerusalem Post cited a report published yesterday by the Israeli
human rights groups BQTselem and Bimkom that Israel had always
intended to annex MaQaleh Adumim as part of Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Post reported that this week the IDF and Foreign
Ministry held a joint seminar to boost IsraelQs international
standing.

The Jerusalem Post and other media noted that the U.S. stresses that
Iran should take the year-end deadline seriously.

Yediot and Israel Radio reported that 15 IDF soldiers who were
wounded during Operation Cast Lead are seeking legal action in
Belgium against 10 top Hamas leaders. The appellants are binational
Israeli/Belgian citizens.

Leading media quoted Syrian President Bashar Assad as saying
yesterday, after talks with Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan in
Damascus, that peace talks with Israel had been stalled because
Israel was not interested in achieving peace. Assad was quoted as
saying that Israel's demand for negotiations without conditions
meant that it wanted to bring down the peace process.

Israel Radio reported that 200 young people about to be drafted have
signed a petition that they will refuse any orders that contradict
the Torah according to rabbisQ understanding.

HaQaretz quoted Hannah Rosenthal, head of the U.S. administration's
Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism as saying that remarks by
Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, against the liberal
Jewish lobby J Street were "most unfortunate." In an interview with
HaQaretz in Jerusalem, where Rosenthal was the administration's
envoy to the Israeli Foreign Ministry's Global Forum for Combating
Anti-Semitism, Rosenthal, who once served on J Street's board of
directors, said she opposes blurring the lines between anti-Semitism
and criticism of Israel.

Citing the AP, HaQaretz reported that the Vatican has clarified that
the elevation of the late Pope Pius XII to the title of Qvenerable
does not constitute a hostile act toward the Jews. For its part,
Maariv reported that Jewish pressure has slowed down Pius XIIQs
beatification process begun by Pope Benedict XVI.

Yediot reported that 11 Israelis are QhostagesQ in the U.S.: eight
young Israeli women and three young Israeli men were arrested for
working illegally in Seattle malls.

Major media reported that yesterday Ike Aranne (Yitzhak
Ahronovitch), the captain of the famed refugee ship Exodus 1947,
died in Hadera at the age of 86 after a long illness.

Yediot published the findings of a Dahaf/Mina Zemach poll:
- 76 percent of Israelis favor a prisoner swap under the conditions
set by the GOI; 14 percent oppose such a deal; 10 percent are
undecided.
- 65 percent are satisfied with the performance of PM Netanyahu; 25
percent are dissatisfied; 10 percent are undecided.
- 69 percent are satisfied with the performance of IDF Chief of
Staff Gabi Ashkenazi; 12 percent are dissatisfied; 19 percent are
undecided.
- Only 44 percent are satisfied with the performance of DM Ehud
Barak; 41 percent are dissatisfied; 15 percent are undecided.

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Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
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I. QEvasiveness and Foot-Dragging

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (12/24): QThe
framework of the deal [over Gilad ShalitQs release] was agreed on in
Olmert's term and Netanyahu has not succeeded in changing it in his
nine months in office. Deporting the released prisoners will change
nothing, if instead of returning to the West Bank -- where they will
be supervised by the Shin Bet and Palestinian Authority -- they will
travel the world, planning terror attacks against Jewish and Israeli
targets. Instead of wasting any more time on futile one-upmanship
games with Hamas, Netanyahu must say: It stops here. It's time to
decide. End Gilad and his family's suffering and bring the soldier
home.


II. QEverything, We Repeat, Everything, at All Costs

Dr. Muhammad Watad, a senior law lecturer at the Safed Academic
College, wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv (12/24): QIsrael
should have paid before [Gilad ShalitQs] abduction to prevent it.
When it failed to do so and Gilad was abducted, [the official word
was that] the Qstate must do everything, repeat everything, and at
all costs to return the son.... Besides, Israel has not done the
Shalit family any favor, and the claims by the families of the
terror victims -- however heartrending they may be -- are only
Qemotional.Q I believe that, had the victims had been alive and had
that been known for certain, their screams of Qreturn the sons home
would even have torn the separation fence.

III. QLeftists Voted for KadimaQs Likudniks

Former Meretz leader, former Justice Minister, and chief Israeli
promoter of the Geneva Initiative, Yossi Beilin, wrote in the
independent Israel Hayom (12/24): QWhen Kadima was founded, figures
from Likud and the Labor Party joined it; it won the elections under
Ehud Olmert and hit Likud in its most tender spot. Then an
interesting phenomenon appeared: OlmertQs moderate utterances sent
the Likudniks back to Likud. Those who remained Kadima supporters
presented positions closer to Meretz than to the Labor Party.
Labor, Meretz, and Shinui voters chose Kadima during the 2009
elections. The only former Likudniks who remained in Kadima were
its Knesset members. It would only be natural for them to come back
to their natural places. Instead of raising false claims of the
moveQs illegitimacy or problematic timing, I would make efforts to
ensure a Kadima-Meretz-Labor rebel. This would represent suitable
quantitative and qualitative compensation that would stabilize
opposite the center-right bloc -- at last a center-left bloc.

IV. QBibi, King of Israel

Far left columnist Gideon Levy wrote in Ha'aretz (12/24): QThe
charade of soul-searching surrounding the Gilad Shalit deal staged
by the forum of seven senior cabinet ministers revealed that it was
in fact an unnecessary effort, and that Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu is virtually omnipotent and could have forced the passage
of any resolution. We have not had such a strong prime minister in
a long time. FYI to the Americans, who like to think that Netanyahu
wants to do the right thing but can't; as well as to the Europeans,
the Arabs and especially the Israelis: There are no domestic
politics in Israel now, because there is no one who poses a genuine
threat to Netanyahu. He has no opposition, neither within his party
nor without, neither parliamentary nor extra-parliamentary. His
seat is safe. Above all these words are addressed to Netanyahu
himself, that master of intimidation and wizard of self-inflicted
fear.

V. QReligious Zionists Must Disown the Zealots

Columnist and conservative international Jewish leader Isi Leibler
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (12/24):
QReligious Zionists are confronted by an unenviable challenge which
could permanently undermine their status in Israel. From being
regarded by the mainstream as the voice of religious moderation and
a force of societal unification -- whose youth have earned the
reputation as role models of devotion and dedication to the state
and its defense -- they are now teetering on marginalization at
best, and stigmatized as zealots at worst. The current impasse was
an inevitable consequence of edicts issued by a number of rabbis
proclaiming that forfeiture of territory in the Land of Israel
constitutes a breach of Halacha [Jewish religious law]. These
rabbis refused to consider any exceptions to this decree -- not even
for Qpikuah nefesh,Q the requirement to safeguard human life, which
overrides most halachic injunctions. Nor were they willing to
respect the authority of the majority of their rabbinical
colleagues, who disagreed with their interpretation of Jewish law
and also recognized the potential societal polarization it would
create.... [Correcting this situation] will require courage and
determination, particularly by moderate religious-Zionist laymen.
These represent the vast majority of religious Zionists whose
commitment to the state is unconditional, but have hitherto lacked
the backbone to resist, condemn and ostracize the extremists. They
must do so now, before this hesder [the institution combining
military service with religious studies]-IDF imbroglio spins out of
control, endangering the entire religious-Zionist enterprise. This
would represent a great loss not only for the IDF, but for the
entire nation.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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