The Jerusalem Post comments on last week’s ratification of legislation which defines throwing stones at passing vehicles as constituting a terrorist act, allowing the prosecution to demand a 10-year term without having to prove intent to harm. The Joint Arab List issued an official statement charging that "this legislation is racist and unconstitutional. Its sole purpose is to repress the Palestinians’ struggle, their civic, popular and legitimate protest." The paper writes: "The faint line between valid dissent and siding with the state’s implacable enemies has long ago been blurred beyond restoration. ‘Cold’ projectiles too can kill and they have too many tragic times. Sometimes stones injure and kill Israeli Arabs too – when they’re mistaken for Jews."
Haaretz comments on the selection of MK Robert Ilatov, from Yisrael Beiteinu, as one of the Knesset’s two representatives to the Judicial Appointments Committee: "One of Ilatov’s demands is that judicial candidates must be able to say all the words of the national anthem, including the phrase ‘the soul of a Jew yearns’. Not all Jews are Israelis and not all Israelis are Jews. It suffices that officials who express respect for the state’s symbols perform their duties while being true to their conscience. The right, within and outside of the coalition, deemed it essential to control one-third of the committee in order to block undesirable appointments, even at the cost of distorting democracy and depleting the ideological opposition."
Yediot Aharonot comments on the Locker Report which recommends keeping the defense budget at NIS 59 billion for the next half a decade, shortening compulsory military service to two years and canceling early retirement for non-combatant officers: "While the Locker Committee was working on its report, the IDF formed its own committee headed by Maj.-Gen. Hagai Topolanski. They were both looking for solutions to the same problem: The army was growing old, and losing control over its spending on manpower, which took up the lion’s share of the defense budget without actually increasing defense. It is safe to assume that if Locker’s external committee cooperated with Topolanski’s internal committee, a lot of the angry feelings could have been avoided. Locker’s recommendations on reducing manpower and shortening the army service will not come to pass. Chief of Staff Eisenkot must make painful dismissals, and he will tighten supervision over the army’s manpower management – but it will be based on his own plans."
Yisrael Hayom writes in the wake of the deal with Iran: "Without the sanctions, the Iranian economy will thrive. A tremendously prosperous Iran will use its regional tentacles to destabilize other countries in the region, even more so that it does today. Decision-makers in Washington, led by President Barack Obama, expect the nuclear deal to defuse tensions in the region and help stabilize the war-torn region. But the reality might be very different and may ultimately prove challenging to the moderate Arab states. Likewise, Jerusalem may have to face challenges unlike it has ever seen before. When all is said and done, rather than extract itself form the region, the U.S. may be drawn back. This time around, though, it may find itself knee-deep in the region’s affairs."
[Alex Fishman and Ofer Israeli wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot and Israel Hayom, respectively.]