HEADLINES FROM THE HEBREW PRESS

2.05.04 HA’ARETZ 1. LIKUD VOTING TODAY ON DISENGAGEMENT PLAN; SHARON’S CONFIDANTS: HE WILL ADVANCE PLAN EVEN IF HE LOSES. Assessment at opponents’ staffs: We will win by small margin. Hired private detectives to prevent fraud at polling places. Sharon: Voters must remember – settlers are minority. Rabbi Yosef: “Disengagement – endangers lives.” 700 families from Gush Katif to lobby at polling places. 2. MACCABI TEL AVIV EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS FOR FOURTH TIME; TENS OF THOUSANDS CELEBRATE IN YARKON PARK. 3. 127 GRAVES VANDALIZED IN JEWISH CEMETERY IN FRANCE. 60% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in country.


HATZOFEH 1. Likud members to vote today on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan. FATEFUL REFERENDUM. Great apprehension in Likud ahead of opening of polling places at 08:00. 443 polling stations to be situated in 168 locales throughout country. Plan supporters and PM’s confidants hoping for high turnout that will improve chances of victory. Disengagement opponents expect PM to accept referendum results but are talking about victory: “After we win, we will line up behind Sharon.” Polling places to close at 22:00 and final results will be known during night. 2. CHAMPION YELLOW. Maccabi Tel Aviv European champions for fourth time in club history after great 118-74 victory over Skipper Bologna. (…). Championship celebrations continued all night in Ganei Yehoshua. MA’ARIV 1. GIANTS! Maccabi Tel Aviv 2004 European Champion. 2. ON THE FINISH LINE. Ariel Sharon made thousands of telephone calls over weekend in last effort to stop surge in polls. On other side, opponents planning to station Gush Katif youths who will ask not to be expelled from their homes. Tonight, upon publication of results, political upheaval expected. 3. Last Ma’ariv-Teleseker poll: 49% AGAINST, 41% IN FAVOR. Likud members’ referendum on disengagement to begin at 08:00. Opponents’ lead grew in poll carried out last night. 10% still wavering. YEDIOT AHRONOT 1. GIANTS! Great night for Israeli basketball: In astounding game last night, Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Bologna 118-74 and brought us the European championship. Tel Aviv jubilant: Tens of thousands celebrate in Yarkon Park. 2. To stay in Gaza or leave it: 193,190 Likud members to vote today. DAY OF DECISION. 3. Last night’s Yediot Ahronot-Mina Tzemah/Dahaf poll: GAP CLOSING. 47.5% against (was 47% Friday), 44% in favor (was 40.5% Friday). ______________________________ SUMMARY OF EDITORIALS FROM THE HEBREW PRESS Both papers discuss today’s Likud referendum on the disengagement plan: Hatzofeh says that Likud members, “will have to decide today whether they believe that throwing Jews out of their homes will bring us a small amount of quiet, when the…Prime Minister, in his letter to Likud members, made it clear that the maximum that he expects from it is short term calm.” The editors ask whether the question of a minority of Jews living among Arabs isn’t a question for the state of Israel in general, and assert that the vote is a matter of trust, “Who do you trust more? Sharon or [Benny] Begin?” Hatzofeh in its second editorial, scorns the Prime Minister’s Bureau for believing that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s visit to Israel will help the Prime Minister in today’s referendum: “What do they think, there in Sharon’s Bureau, that the decision over whether to exile Jews from their houses will crumble due to a visit from ‘Robocop?’” Hatzofeh, in its third editorial, suggests that Prime Minister Sharon will not resign if he loses the vote, since he would no longer have immunity from all the investigations against him. Yediot Ahronot says that although many people around the world will breathe a sigh of relief if Prime Minister Sharon loses the vote and is thrown out of office, “Looking at it from the point of view of Israel in 2010, rejecting disengagement today will be a national tragedy, weeping for generations.” The editors believe that Prime Minister Sharon has undergone personal introspection in order to come to the conclusion that, “occupation is bad for Israel,” add that his initiative has come from the realization that if we continue as we are today, with “the Greater Land of Israel,” by 2010 there will be a minority of Jews in the land of Israel, and suggest that Sharon is acting now in order to avert such a reality. The paper argues that the disengagement plan is a, “preventative plan, not a building plan” and asserts that those who oppose it are not helping anyone. The editors criticize the use of fear tactics to force Likud members to support the plan, and say that they will support it not out of fear but, “out of hope;…in order for Zionism to succeed, a permanent disengagement is needed.” BPI.