Summary of editorials from the Hebrew press
Today’s issues: Justice undeferred, Meretz must lead by example, the hysteria over Iran as a convenient avenue for corruption, Abbas at the UN – again, and as housing demand slows, so does supply.
The Jerusalem Post discusses the vehement assault by ultra-Orthodox parties and their coalition fellow travelers following rulings last week that struck down egregious examples of legislative inequality, and notes: “Opponents of the court on the right-wing of Israeli coalition politics declared their intent to pass laws that would strip the court of its constitutional role as the sole guardian of our democratic rights.” The editor argues that “The real issue is the fact that the Supreme Court is our democracy’s essential watchdog against corruption, whether civil or religious,” and asserts: “While Jewish tradition guides the Jewish state, it must work in harmony with the rule of law. Without the law, the only democracy in the Middle East would face the abyss of theocracy or worse. The Jewish st ate can survive only if it is both democratic and Jewish. To ensure that balance the court needs to remain independent.”
Haaretz comments on the attempt by members of the Meretz party to cut short the term of current Chairwoman Zehava Galon, and states: “This is an attempt to oust Galon, who has been working to change the party’s electoral system to that of an open primary.” The editor believes that it’s hard to miss the irony that the leader of a party on the left is fighting to abandon the idea of acceptance committees, which are historically identified with a left-wing worldview, while the largest party on the liberal right, which has prided itself on its openness, is toying with the idea of acceptance committees, and adds: “Despite the limitations of the primary system, it is the most democratic one – all the more so an open primary – encouraging public and political involvement. Meretz would do well to stop trying to put a halt to Galon’s worthy initiative to open up the party. This is the only way for it to continue to be a party that not only fights for democracy but also leads by example.”
Yediot Aharonot revisits the corruption scandals surrounding Israel’s intended purchases of submarines from Germany, and states: “It’s impossible to understand the unbearable lightness of making submarine purchase decisions, as well as decision-makers’ blindness to suspicious background noises, without seeing the external cause: ‘Iran’—the magic word silencing criticism, discouraging those who raise doubts and justifying moves that violate rules and regulations.”
Israel Hayom addresses expectations for a moderate speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas next week at the UN, and states: “The real question is: How far can Abbas go in opposing real negotiation and compromise, encouraging violence, venerating terrorists, and pushing the criminalization of Israel internationally – while still being considered a paragon of peace by the global community?”
Globes is concerned by the declining demand for housing in Israel, and predicts: “Building starts in 2017 will be far less than Israel needs, despite the government’s promises.”
[Sever Plocker, David M. Weinberg, and Dror Marmor wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Israel Hayom and Globes, respectively.