Summary of Editorials from the Hebrew Press

Three papers continue to comment on the decision of Ehud Barak and four of his MK associates to quit the Labor Party and form their own faction:

Yediot Aharonot says that, „I don’t buy it that the Labor Party died the day before yesterday. In my opinion, it was murdered in Tel Aviv on that night in November 1995,” and adds that, „I read several op-eds by colleagues in all the newspapers and I got the impression that their analyses were more archaeological than pathological. They very much wanted the story to fascinate you, but it simply didn’t because there really wasn’t a story here.” The author likens Labor’s demise „to an elderly spinster who dies at home and nobody notices until the stink causes the neighbors to call the police,” and adds that, „Ehud Barak simply kicked the door down (like a good General Staff officer) and showed the world what the worms have already known for a long time.” The paper notes Labor’s origins as a workers’ party and contends that the mass of the Israeli working public has, for years, been „without a party to aggressively and faithfully fight for their interests.”
Ma’ariv notes that the Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry was not among the portfolios requested by, and allocated to, Ehud Barak’s new party and remarks that Barak, in effect, „fled, abandoning millions of elderly, handicapped and children-at-risk on the field.” The author hails Labor’s efforts in general, and those of former Minister Yitzhak Herzog in particular, in reviving the ministry, „following years in which it was a punching bag.” The paper asserts, „It is easy to use the ministry as a prostitute’s fee.  It serves people without a voice. Apparently, that was Barak’s consideration. What does he care for all these needy?  In any case, he cannot see them from the Defense Ministry offices.”
Yisrael Hayom urges Labor’s remaining MKs to drop their factionalism and unite in order „to rehabilitate the party, rebuild its institutions and choose a leadership.” The author says that while the foregoing may be difficult, „Such a common journey is almost the only chance for a party of which nothing remains except for the logo.”
Haaretz writes: „On Monday, February 14, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi is supposed to pass the chief of staff’s pennant to Yoav Galant. But in recent weeks there have been increasing doubts about whether Galant will indeed be appointed chief of staff, and if so, when. The appointments committee is supposed to classify and screen people recommended by ministers for senior positions. It must thoroughly examine whether the character, and connections of the candidate qualify or disqualify him. Retired judge Jacob Turkel didn’t bother to delve into the material and didn’t even wait for the report of the deputy attorney general. The clock is ticking, and there is still no chief of staff. Galant and Turkel, each in his own area, must provide convincing answers.”
The Jerusalem Post commnets that „Many states in the region suffer from the same problems – unemployment, slow growth, corrupt government, aging dictators – that brought Tunisians out to protest. Protesters have taken to the streets in Algeria and Jordan, demanding jobs and affordable food. Whether these protests erupt into the kind of revolution Tunisia is experiencing is impossible to know. What’s clear is that the actions taken by Tunisians are reverberating around the region.”


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