Summary of Editorials from the Hebrew Press

Two papers discuss the recent uprising in Tunisia:




The Jerusalem Post discusses the uncertainty of the new political reality in Tunisia, and suggests that if it results in the Arab world’s first truly democratic state, it could serve as a catalyst for additional constructive upheavals elsewhere. On the other hand, if it fails and Tunisia deteriorates into chaos, the way would be open for extremist elements elsewhere to capitalize on the disorder and ruin hopes for positive change. The editor adds that „this unstoppable display of the people’s will also constitutes a potential beacon of hope for Arabs aspiring to live free lives throughout the region.”
Haaretz comments that „The importance of the civil unrest in Tunisia is impossible to exaggerate.” The editor states that „International support is needed to make sure the revolution brings a democratic government that will carry out the desires of the Tunisian people,” and feels that Tunisia’s citizens deserve the best wishes of Israel’s democracy-loving citizens. The editor calls on the Israeli government to „use the opportunity to convince the citizens of Tunisia and other Arab countries that it deserves their trust and that it intends to renounce the occupation and the settlements, just as France no longer occupies Algeria or Tunisia.”
Yediot Aharonot refers to Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.  The author recalls a conversation with an Israeli youth who said that he would vote for Liberman in the next elections because „he will stick it to the Arabs,” and retorts: „Will Liberman stick it to the Arabs?  In the meantime, he is sticking it only to the Jews, with moves that endanger the main asset that enables Israel to deal with those who seek ill for it in the world – the vitality of its democracy.” The paper rejects any comparison between Avigdor Liberman and the late Menachem Begin as superficial at best: „Begin was an outstanding democrat. Except for one miserable incident, throughout his years in opposition, he obeyed the law, the rules of the game and the institutions of the state. He believed in them with all his might. Would that it be possible to say the same thing about Liberman. Begin was free from any hint of graft. He did not become rich overnight from flourishing businesses, he did not join up with casino owners, he did not spend his vacations in dark dictatorships. Would that we could say the same things about Liberman.” The author lauds the successive waves of Russian immigration to Israel but argues that „Liberman’s monopoly over the Russian vote attests to the failure of the other parties. It also attests to the failure of the immigrants: After 34 years, one might expect that they would give rise to a mature, responsible leader of stature. What a pity that has not happened yet.”
Ma’ariv comments on the Israeli Left. The author writes: „I was at Saturday night’s left-wing demonstration in Tel Aviv.  When the last speaker spoke about, ‘the ruling phallus,’ I left. There is no relationship between male repression and the complaint against President Katsav, and between Liberman and Netanyahu’s thunderous silence. Not every demonstration on behalf of our right as citizens to speak our minds in a democratic state needs to be turned into an introductory course on gender studies. The Israeli Left has been forever guilty in its condescension toward the political center. Its outlook is that if you identify with the term Zionism and support a Jewish state, you are a racist. If you are not fighting male repression, you cannot, in any way, take part in the struggle to open the Gaza crossings. It’s all or nothing. In recent years, the Left has shut itself in its bubble of absolute justice.  Whoever disagrees with part of its theory is derisively labeled a ‘centrist.’  One must take a clear stand against everything even if the conditions and the facts change. Nothing is considered on its merits; the occupation is to blame for everything.”
The author notes that Kadima MK Meir Shetrit also attended the demonstration and says that „This was not an internal left-wing demonstration. I and many others went to demonstrate against the hatred and fear that are taking us over, not in favor of a state of all its citizens. The Left does not now have the privilege of being selective. If somebody wants to express their revulsion from the combination of a Jewish and democratic state, they should do so in a conversation in their living room. If somebody wants to express support for the suffering of the Palestinian people, let them fly a Palestinian flag at home. I will not fly any flag that represents the dictatorial Hamas regime that has made Gazans’ lives a misery. I am Israeli. This is my home and my language. I am a Jew and I am proud of it. This does not make me a racist or persona non grata at demonstrations and woe are the sane democrats if I feel that way.  If you lose me and those like me, we will all lose the war.”
Yisrael Hayom discusses the crisis in Lebanon and suggests that „Nobody in Lebanon is interested in a civil war and certainly not in another war against Israel now.  Iran is especially uninterested because it needs a strong and well-armed Hizbullah as its main tool for a response should it be attacked by Israel or the US over the nuclear issue. But in the explosive situation now prevailing in Lebanon, it is not clear that logic and equanimity will gain the upper hand. One must take into account that the bad blood could lead to an outbreak that nobody in the leadership wants. Control over elements in the field is not complete on either side and events are liable to deteriorate into a conflagration that nobody wants.”


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