The Headlines: American voters elect Israel’s government
> Today’s American congressional elections are front pages news in the Hebrew media. Israelis, so dependent on the US, are fascinated by its politics. But even so-called experts display shocking ignorance of the basic facts, often repeating silly partisan talking points. The general tone is schadenfreude towards the predicament of Obama, which the right considers unfriendly towards Israel. The notable exception is Ha’aretz, which also sensibly notes that Democratic losses are inevitable in a mid-term election during an economic crisis.
> University students protest against the intention to award benefits to yeshiva students, while excluding those attending secular institutions of higher learning. Fuel was added to the fire when the opposition discovered an item in the budget that would levy taxes on the scholarships.
> This was not known when newspapers went to print, but a general strike was averted at the last minute, this morning.
The sidelines: A loyalty oath for Knesset committee chairs
> Netanyahu wants [Heb] Knesset committee chairs to sign yet another loyalty oath, this time, promising to uphold the government’s policies no matter what. And, really, isn’t separation of powers so eighteenth century?
> There is a disagreement over whether one of Israel’s largest real estate firms has committed to avoid building in the settlements (Ma’ariv).
> The boycott on the new performance hall in the settlement of Ariel has not prevented [Heb] many artists from choosing to perform there.
> Deputy Prime Minister Meridor (Likud) was forced to cancel a trip to the UK for fear of being arrested for war crimes charges.
> The head of Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) warns that terrorist organizations could use Google Earth and the iphone.
> Civilian security guards could be accorded [Heb] police powers.
> Lonely Planet travel guide has placed Tel Aviv third on its list of the world’s 10 best cities.
> The government endorsed a bill that would require women, who wish to receive exemption from military service because they are religious, to present certificates showing that they attended a religious school.
The bottom lines: Asserting Control in East Jerusalem
> Israel attempts to foil a Palestinian Authority ceremony inaugurating schools in East Jerusalem. The largely Palestinian part of the city was annexed to Israel but is severely neglected by its authorities.
> The police started levying fines [Heb] on the parents of Palestinian children who throw stones on Jews in East Jerusalem.