HA’ARETZ 1. SHARON LACKS MAJORITY FOR BUDGET TODAY; LABOR GIVES 10 DAYS FOR NEGOTIATIONS. Stormy evening at Labor Central Committee: Barak leaped onto stage, grabbed the microphone and accused senior officials of attempting “to steal the party.” 2. ISRAEL TO AGREE TO STATIONING OF 750 EGYPTIAN SOLDIERS ON PHILADELPHIA CORRIDOR. HATZOFEH 1. Sharon decides to put budget to vote despite not having a majority to approve it. KEY TO BUDGET – IN SHAS’S HANDS. NRP to vote against. Poraz unsuccessful in persuading Sharon to postpone vote. 2. “MICROPHONE BATTLE”, THIS TIME IN LABOR PARTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE; BARAK TOOK STAGE AND TOOK CONTROL OF MICROPHONE. 3. MUBARAK: ASSAD NOT CONDITIONING RENEWAL OF TALKS ON CONTINUING THEM FROM THE POINT THEY WERE LEFT OFF. 4. IDF INVESTIGATION: SOLDIERS AT ROADBLOCK DID NOT FORCE PALESTINIAN TO PLAY VIOLIN. 5. 67 LIFE SENTENCES TO TERRORIST WHO PREPARED EXPLOSIVES THAT CAUSED DEATHS OF 67 ISRAELIS. 6. SOLDIERS WHO COMPLETED RESERVE DUTY, TO THEIR COMMANDERS: THIS TIME WE CAME, BUT IF WE ARE CALLED IN ORDER TO UPROOT – WE WILL NOT COME. MA’ARIV 1. Expose: Syrian President agreed to visit Jerusalem: ASSAD AGREED TO COME, ISRAEL IGNORED. Visit to Israel and address to Knesset; that was the unusual proposal that was submitted a year ago to Syrian President. Basher Assad answered positively. Jerusalem disregarded proposal. 2. BATTLE FOR THE MICROPHONE. Uproar in Labor: Barak charged onto stage and took control of microphone. 3. SHINUI: WE WILL QUIT TODAY. Budget expected to fail. YEDIOT AHRONOT 1. EDUD GRABS. Microphone battle in Labor: Former PM grabbed the microphone from Moshe Shahal and called for secret elections. Shahal furious: “You have turned us into the Likud Central Committee.” 2. DRAMATIC DAY IN KNESSET. Shinui ministers expected to vote against budget and leave government. Sharon to Labor: Join government. 3. 73% AGAINST ELECTIONS. Majority of public prefer Likud, Shinui, Labor government. Shinui stands to lose five seats. 4. ISRAELI MOZART 12-year-old musician astounds New York. ______________________________ SUMMARY OF EDITORIALS FROM THE HEBREW PRESS Yediot Ahronot suggests that, “The two largest parties that form Israel’s political experience, the Likud and Labor, are currently galloping hell-bent towards their break-up,” and adds that, “One needs a compass, the second urgently needs a leader.” The editors fear that, “The disgust with the parties and their personnel and the despair over the current political system are liable to drag the State of Israel to the edge of the abyss: Already today, there are many here who believe and are convinced that there is no need for democratic life, that democracy isn’t above everything and there are also those who are capable of wielding weapons against leaders and brothers.” The paper asserts that, “The political establishment urgently needs a general repair regarding both ideological content and the people working in it.” Yediot Ahronot, in its second editorial, notes that the Likud, “almost at the peak of its electoral glory, with 40 mandates,” may be unable to pass the 2005 budget through the Knesset. The editors suggest that any new coalition will have but one purpose – to pass the Disengagement Plan. Yediot Ahronot, in its third editorial, writes: “Ouch! What does this Bashar Assad want from us? What a pest! OK, OK, we’ve heard it all before: Syria wants peace, Syria wants peace. We’ve heard it! We’ve heard it! Enough! What luck that Menahem Begin is no longer with us. He would’ve been capable of seizing this opportunity, as he did with President Sadat.” Hatzofeh analyzes the internal state of the National Religious Party Knesset faction. BPI-info