Summary of Editorials from the Izraeli Hebrew Press

Yediot Aharonot argues that, „American analysts assess that an Iranian response [to an attack upon their nuclear facilities] would be very reserved. Israel, which would not be involved in an American military operation, would not be attacked by missiles, and Hizbullah, for its own reasons, would keep its guns locked. True, the bombing would not destroy forever the Iranian military nuclear efforts, but it would set it back several years and would transmit a message of determination. Will Barack Obama ultimately decide in favor of a military operation on Iran? Obama has proven over the course of his presidency that he is not a pacifist; he approves targeted eliminations on a wholesale basis. If the Iranians continue to balk at his warnings – an American personage who knows both his character and his mindset told me – ‘Obama will send the bombers. He will give the command to forcibly prevent Iran from becoming a military nuclear power. That is a promise that he made to Israel and to all countries in the Middle East. He cannot break it.'”

The Jerusalem Post comments: „Our economy, which has so far outperformed most Western countries, will soon be dragged down by the ongoing recession in America and the European debt crisis, at a time when the gap between rich and poor has reached record proportions. This summer’s protests demonstrated that severe poverty and extreme income inequality preoccupy Israelis no less than military threats. One of the central recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee was to cut about NIS 3 billion from the annual defense budgedt to fund socioeconomic programs with the goal of reducing poverty and income inequality. Unfortunately, it appears that once again our military leaders have managed to play on our fears by warning that a cut in the defense budget could compromise Israel’s military strength and expose the Jewish state to existential dangers. PM Netanyahu has, according to media reports, decided not to cut the IDF’s 2012 budget.” The Post concludes: „Cutting the defense budget to fund the Trajtenberg recommendations can reduce inequality without compromising military capabilities.”

Three papers comment on Tuesday’s demonstration in Beit Shemesh against religious coercion and the exclusion of women by extreme ultra-orthodox elements:

Haaretz writes: „The demonstration is welcome and is evidence of civic involvement and concern and the need to protect society from those who come to destroy it. Even so, it should be remembered that Beit Shemesh is an extreme case, that the hard core among the rioters represents a problematic exception and that most of the ultra-Orthodox population decries this extremism and has itself suffered greatly from it. The rioters in Beit Shemesh are criminals in every sense of the word. They cannot hide behind their religious worldview, behind their rabbis’ rulings on matters Jewish religious law. The government must develop a firm and unambiguous policy that will enable the police, the state prosecution and the courts to apply the law to deal with the rioters as well as their spiritual leaders, who encourage and incite them to run wild. These people are endangering the well-being of the public in whose midst they are living and are threatening to undermine democracy and Israeli society as a whole.”

Ma’ariv believes that „In the recent struggle against extremism, it is possible to win only through courageous leadership, one that will know how to stand up to the representatives of the settlers and the ultra-orthodox.”

Yisrael Hayom notes that among the speakers were women MKs from across the Israeli political spectrum: „It was a united expression by the worthy side of Israeli society, almost an expression of consensus.” The author notes that „Thousands went to Beit Shemesh last night, and many did not arrive. The protest is far from its peak. The [extreme ultra-orthodox elements] do not know what will be the force of the collision at its height. It is best if such will not be necessary. But if, heaven forbid, there will be no alternative – then ‘yes, break them.'”