The different israeli newspapers give their views on various matters.
Three papers discuss various issues related to the ongoing protest over housing prices:
Yediot Aharonot says that "The wave of protests has taught those who live on high that reality in Israel is not as wonderful as it might appear from on high and that many basic corrections need to be made. What to correct and where to start? The answer is simple as always: From the top." The author reminds his readers that "We have the largest, most inflated, government in Israeli history with close to 40 ministers and deputy ministers – almost one-third of the Knesset," and adds that "Someone has built a ‘supertanker’ exactly where it should not have been." The paper suggests that "The public sees, understands and draws the necessary conclusions. Once, they spoke of personal example. Now its place has been usurped by the opposite system – ‘grab what you can’, which has brought us to where it has." The author wonders how the Government might reply to Opposition-sponsored legislation to limit the number of ministers and also calls – inter alia – for salary caps on directors of public companies. The paper concludes that "Any measure that causes the political and economic leadership to understand the need to set a personal example and to show responsibility to the public at large, including workers, consumers, discharged soldiers and those in distress, will lower the level of alienation that the public feels toward the leadership and, perhaps, will even gradually reduce the need to protest."
Ma’ariv accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of shelving various socio-economic clauses in the Likud platform in order to secure the support of the ultra-orthodox parties, the interests of which are far narrower, in order to secure their support in forming the present coalition. The author suggests that "MKs are acting according to Israeli political tradition in which the idea of collegial responsibility has never caught on," and contends that the electoral system is to blame for the current socio-economic imbroglio. The paper believes that "The demonstrations are the first sign of a rising up against an establishment that systematically ignores the great majority of those who bear the national burden."
Yisrael Hayom asserts that "For some reason, members of the national religious population are absent from the protest tents and did not go to Saturday night’s demonstration. One cannot accuse the national religious citizens of not going to the army, but it seems that the protest organizers do not exactly love this public’s agenda, otherwise why call for a demonstration two hours before the Sabbath is over, when there is no chance that any national religious members will come? One way or the other, the national religious movement believes more in President Kennedy’s dictum ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ Why must the state see to it that every 22-year-old can buy/rent an apartment? And why do those same national religious members, say from Petah Tikva, after IDF service in combat units, not cry but study, work and live in Shaarei Tikva, Ariel and Lod?"]
The Jerusalem Post discusses the recent tragedy in Norway, and wonders if this could be the act of more than a single man, and should, perhaps, “serve not only as a warning that there may be more elements on the extreme Right willing to use violence to further their goals, but also as an opportunity to seriously reevaluate policies for immigrant integration in Norway.” The editor notes that the challenge, not only to Norway but to Europe as a whole, is to strike the right balance: “Fostering an open society untainted by xenophobia or racism should go hand in hand with protection of unique European culture and values,” and adds that “Oslo’s devastating tragedy should not be allowed to be manipulated by those who would cover up the abject failure of multiculturalism.”
Haaretz feels that Israel’s housing protests “are a welcome awakening, and declares: “Those who turned out to protest Saturday night demanded a more just distribution of resources, a commitment by the state to the well-being of its citizens and even restoration of the welfare state.”
[Daniel Friedman, Amnon Rubinstein and Eli Sahar wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Ma’ariv and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]