The Headlines: An Ugly Fight over Benefits to Yeshiva Students
> The governing coalition is split on the issue of social benefits for Yeshiva students. The ultra-orthodox parties demand their continuation, despite a Supreme Court ruling to the contrary. Other ministers, including in Likud, are strongly opposed. Attempts to include university students in the bill have not taken off, because the criteria (three children, no apartment, no car, no other income) are clearly tailored for the ultra-orthodox community. This blatant discrimination is outrageous, but so is calling an entire community ‘parasites’ and ‘thieves’ on the front page of a national newspaper (Ma’ariv).
> The state comptroller will examine a nasty affair, involving a forged document that was meant to prevent the appointment of the incoming Chief of Staff, Yoav Galant. Recent revelations indicate a connection between the forger and the outgoing Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, who is considered Galant’s rival.
> All four dailies highlight the leaking of document regarding the Iraq war. Almost invariably, they present this as proof for the international community’s hypocrisy in criticizing the IDF, when other Western armies have behaved no better or worse. Some even go so far as to say that Israel should be pleased, because this gives it an “insurance policy” against international criticism. Fortunately, there are still sane voice that explain you cannot justify one wrong with another wrong (Ma’ariv).
The Sidelines: Six Degrees of Excommunication
> A city rabbi (which in Israel, is a state employee), who is the son of Shas’ spiritual leader, has said that people who serves as judges, because they rule according to secular law, cannot be counted for ‘Minyan’ – the minimum number of people required to participate in certain Jewish prayers.
> High school students protest [Heb] the Education Ministry’s decision to exclude a textbook which includes the Palestinian perspective on the conflict.
> Arab residents of Lod protest their neglect by authorities, especially the police.
> Arabs and religious Jews violently clashed in Safed, against the background of calls by the city’s rabbi for segregation between Jews and non-Jews.
> Settlers have desecrated a Palestinian graveyard.
> A senior Likud minister sharply attacks [Heb] Defense Minister Barak (Labor) for criticizing Netanyahu’s insistence that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The Bottom Lines: Investigating the Killing of Civilians During the Gaza War
> An IDF colonel was questioned by the Military Police over a bombing he ordered during the Gaza war, in which 21 innocent civilians were killed. The officer strenuously denies any prior knowledge of the presence of civilians in the building (Yedioth).