Summary of Editorials from the Hebrew Press

Three papers discuss the situation in Syria: Yediot Aharonot addresses Syrian President Bashar Assad and says that

Three papers discuss the situation in Syria: Yediot Aharonot addresses Syrian President Bashar Assad and says that „If staying in power is important to you, call a press conference immediately.  Smile for the cameras, speak to your people and convince them that you finally intend to honor the promises you have strewn about in recent days… In the meantime, they are only shouting ‘Freedom’.  Soon you will hear them shouting ‘The people want to topple the regime.’  Remind yourself what happened in Tunis.  And where is Mubarak?”
Ma’ariv says that „The rulers of the region, who woke up one morning to a prolonged nightmare, may be divided into two groups, according to how they react to traumatic events: Those who give in to the will of their people and those who choose to slaughter them.  The presidents of Tunisia and Egypt belong to the first group.  They needed less than a month to understand that it was time for them to go… Moammar Gadhafi undoubtedly belongs to the second group.”  The author reminds his readers that were it not for the western aerial assault Gadhafi would have crushed the rebels by now, „and the road from Benghazi to Tripoli would be strewn with the bodies of thousands of civilians.”  The paper also assigns Bashar Assad to the second group, for five reasons: „1) Family DNA.  Even though the number of victims is (still) completely different, there is a link between Hafez Assad’s 1982 slaughter of Muslims in Hama and last week’s victims in Daraa… 2) Ethnic affiliation.  Bashar Assad is not alone.  He represents the minority Alawite sect, which controls all the levers of power.  If he goes without a struggle, the entire sect will be affected (and lose the benefits).  3) Assad, who sees himself as a hero in the struggle against Israel, simply does not think the time to go has come.  4) Regional backing.  Internal persuasion.  Neither Ahmadinejad nor Nasrallah, who have forged an alliance with Assad Jr., think he needs to go.  5) International hypocrisy.  Assad figures that his situation is much better than Gadhafi’s.  He knows that Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron will think a thousand times before daring to launch missiles at the presidential palace in Damascus merely to defend the rebels.”  The author concludes that „In effect, Assad has no good reason to leave at the moment.  Unless he suddenly discovers that a large segment of the military and his special forces (not those who belong to the Alawite sect) refuse to countenance the slaughter of civilians and go over to the demonstrators.  Until this happens, he will continue to shoot and kill, promise reforms and not worry.  None of the western leaders will lift a finger.”
Yisrael Hayom believes that „It is too early to try and assess where Syria is going and whether Bashar Assad’s regime will be able to put down the surging wave of protest or if this wave is destined to lead to the end of the Syrian Baath regime.”  The author suggests that „The importance of the events in Syria, as of now, is not necessarily in their size, but in their being unprecedented in a country that has not seen demonstrations and disturbances such as these in almost 30 years.”  The paper says that Assad’s ruling Alawite minority would have much to lose, especially if radical Islamic elements came to power, and contends that „From his latest moves, it seems that Bashar does not intend to give in and that much blood will flow in the streets of Syria before the issue is decided.”  The author avers that „The fall of Bashar Assad would also mean the collapse of the unholy alliance between Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, and the feeling of many in Israel is that Israel must be fearful – as it has in the past – of a change of regime in Syria.”
Haaretz discusses the deployment of the Iron Dome anti-missile system in southern Israel, and states that “Iron Dome’s success won’t spare Israel dilemmas over which expensive equipment to develop involving a number of systems; it won’t even spare Israel demands to engage in offensive operations. It’s good that anti-rocket defense will save lives, but it’s no substitute for far-sighted policies, whose range is even longer than the missiles’.”