Yediot Ahronot comments on the Israel Democracy Institute’s 2011 annual report, which was submitted to President Shimon Peres yesterday. The author refers to the recent wave of socio-economic protests, notes that Israel is a representative – as opposed to a direct – democracy and says that, „While we cannot silence public protest, the Knesset must recapture its proper place: Leading, relevant, responsible and reflecting the public will.”
Ma’ariv reminds its readers that, „The numbers do not lie. The Prime Minister’s speech to the UN General Assembly last Friday received a rating of 28.6%, taking all three networks into account. However, the finals of ‘Master Chef’ [which were broadcast the following day, on only one network] received an average rating of 46.1%.” The author believes that the data, „teaches us something very basic about the way in which Israelis experience the world,” and contends that, „Escapism is back, and in a big way. After several years in which it seemed the public was showing a greater involvement in current events, the conflict – along with the bad feeling it gives – has returned to cast Israelis into depression to the point where they choose to avoid consuming the information that it entails. They find refuge from their existential anxieties in soft programs that radiate optimism.” The paper suggests that the feel-good atmosphere of a, „friendly,” show like ‘Master Chef’ is, „the exact opposite of the feeling one receives from watching Abu Mazen and Netanyahu trade verbal blows at the UN.”
Yisrael Hayom discusses the Trajtenberg committee recommendations which are due to be issued today. The author believes that, „There is no place for the main recommendation (supposedly) regarding a cut in the defense budget. Ehud Barak was too hasty in assuring that he would do his part. Cutting the defense budget against the background of the conduct of Iran, Turkey, Egypt and now the Palestinian Authority would encourage Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s view that Israel cannot cope and survive. The money will not come from there (except for conditions-of-service and distinguishing between combat and other personnel). Last night it was reported that Benjamin Netanyahu had acceded to the Finance Ministry’s request to cut the defense budget and transfer management of it to the Accountant General and his people. If so, this would be the first mistake en route to enacting socio-economic corrections. Those who need to contribute their part, whether voluntarily or by legislation, are the ultra-orthodox and Arab sectors, where the rate of absenteeism from the labor force and IDF or community service is high, and the cost of support payments is greater than the Israeli economy can, is entitled to, and wants to, bear.”