Three papers discuss various issues related to the ongoing protest over housing prices and the plan that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented on Tuesday:
Haaretz contends that PM Netanyahu’s attempt to make the best of a bad situation by appearing charismatic and proactive simply highlights the government’s helplessness and indecisiveness in the face of the wave of current protests, and declares that “The government would do well to conduct talks with the demonstrators that show openness and attentiveness. Instead of miracle solutions, it should offer responsible and wise policy.”
Ma’ariv believes that the environmental organizations are being unfairly blamed for the delays and backlogs in the construction of new housing units and avers that "When one listens to the real estate bigwigs and their politician devotees, one gets the impression that the tent protestors need to storm the offices of the environmental organizations because there, in the greens’ marble palaces, lays the core of the problem." The author cites a senior Society for the Protection of Nature official, who notes that 160,000 apartments have received planning approval but have yet to be built and claims that the bottleneck is not in the planning authorities but in construction starts. The official says that understaffed and underfunded planning institutions should be bolstered and reinforced, not blamed, and contends that the Prime Minister’s new national committees will run roughshod over environmental and other concerns.
Yisrael Hayom questions Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini’s decision yesterday to get involved. The author contends that "First of all, Eini defends the stronger workers’ committees in the economy," and adds that "I doubt if anyone [in the tent encampment] on Rothschild Boulevard [in Tel Aviv] belongs to any of them," such as "the Electric Corporation, some of the banks, the Ports Authority, Israel Railways, the Airports Authority, Mekorot and the Government ministries."
Yediot Aharonot recalls Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s fervent support for Palestinian statehood and asks: "What the Palestinians deserve, according to the Turks, do not the Kurds also deserve?" The author notes that Kurds in Syria and Iran have also been restive and reminds his readers that Iraqi Kurdistan is both well-organized and completely autonomous. The paper believes that "Now it is possible to understand the dilemma facing these four countries vis-à-vis the idea of a unilateral Palestinian state. They understand that if it is the Palestinians today, the clear meaning is that tomorrow it might be the Kurds, who could have a UN majority. Suddenly they understand: If they come down on Israel, they are coming down on themselves. And, the Kurdish state would be a close ally of Israel, like South Sudan. The Kurds are close to Israel and see it as a twin sister that shares a battered history and non-Arab identity."
The Jerusalem Post discusses the extraordinary lenient sentencing prevalent in the Israeli justice system, and feels that the courts “seem bent on accentuating their reputation for supercilious insensitivity,” not always because the dry language of the law leaves them no other alternative. The editor declares: “This state of affairs negates deterrence, undercuts our safety and corrodes our faith in the justice our judiciary dispenses. The only antidote is for the Knesset to, belatedly, enact compulsory minimum-sentencing legislation.”
[Guy Bechor, Aviv Lavie and Hezi Sternlicht wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Ma’ariv and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]