Summary of editorials from the Izraeli Hebrew press
Ma’ariv reminds its readers that the Knesset is due to elect Israel’s next President in May 2014. The author dismisses reports regarding a possible extension of Shimon Peres’ term and notes that such a move “would require the Knesset to change the law and it is hard to believe that a majority could be found.” The paper also discounts any chance that soon-to-be-ex President Peres might return to politics as the head of a projected center-left bloc, especially given that he would be 94 by the time of the next scheduled general election. The author believes that Peres has set the pattern for his successors, “a president who is involved in diplomatic and other issues, who also is an occasional emissary for the government,” and suggests: “The danger to Netanyahu is that any new president that is elected will want to follow in Peres’ footsteps and function as he functioned.”
Yediot Aharonot says that “Netanyahu’s warnings that Iran is building missiles that could reach the US can only amuse the Americans,” because “The American deterrent capability, both in anti-missile defensive systems and its counterstrike ability, ensure that no country will dare to attack it, neither with conventional weapons nor with atomic bombs,” and adds: “The same may be said about the US’s allies, such as Israel, which also has defensive and second-strike capabilities likely to ravage Iran in the event of an attack.” The author cites China and North Korea as examples of states once deemed irrational that became much more conventional upon joining the nuclear club, and predicts that Iran has already begun to do likewise given its status as a nuclear threshold state. The paper concludes: “As soon as Iran decided to jettison the image of a crazy state and begin negotiations with the American Satan, the Iranian threat aga inst Israel was lifted in practice. Iran will continue to be hostile to Israel, just as Egypt continues to be hostile toward us despite the peace agreement between us. Despite this, Egypt will not start a war against us because of its links with the US. This will also be valid vis-à-vis Iran. Israel’s message, as being faced with destruction, became outdated following the Geneva agreement with Iran. Netanyahu will have to create positive messages on the Palestinian issue, otherwise he will be seen as the only warmonger left in the Middle East.”
Yisrael Hayom notes that US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to return to the region, but believes that “He will find Netanyahu focused on Tehran and it is doubtful if he is emotionally and mentally free to deal with the contacts with Ramallah.” The author contends that given developments with Iran, “Jerusalem, Washington and Ramallah know that no negotiations will end in the nine-months that have been allotted.
Haaretz reflects on the opposition in the Knesset to the proposed bill that addresses distortions in the tax law that discriminates against same-sex couples, that will allow each partner to obtain half of the tax credit that is usually given to mothers, and asserts: “A country which considers itself liberal and sensitive to civil rights must recognize the right of same-sex couples to share their lives.”
The Jerusalem Post discusses “the problematic marriage of religion with state,” in light of a proposed bill that would “do away with the separate positions of chief Ashkenazi and chief Sephardi rabbis, and create a single chief rabbi position.” The editor believes that “Part of the problem is that for secular elites, it is convenient to consign the country’s religious life to the rabbinate,” and adds: “eventually, a serious public discourse will have to take place regarding how best to strike the balance between the undeniably religious aspects of Zionism and the purely civic aspects of running a modern state.” The editor concludes: “A radical reevaluation of the Chief Rabbinate’s relevance must be part of such a discourse.”