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Daily Israel Report

Israeli Press Tries to Save Iran from Attack

Segments of the Israeli press are mounting a campaign to prevent what they see as an imminent strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/2/2011, 9:02 AM


Parts of the Israeli press, led by high-circulation newspaper Yediot Acharonot, are trying to sabotage a possible Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities by lifting the veil of secrecy from the matter and turning it into the talk of the town.

Minister Benny Begin blasted "former senior members of the security establishment" who he said are creating the public debate, without naming them. The discussion in the press "is insane anarchy, an evil deed that results from some people's egomania," he said.

Minister Dan Meridor called the debate "abnormal" and "worse than the leaks by Anat Kam." He added: "I do not think there was ever a debate like this. Not everything must come up for public debate." 

A daily column in Yediot asks, "Should Israel attack in Iran?". While the headline is followed by both pro and con columns, media watchdog "The Seventh Eye" explains that the newspaper's answer is obviously "no."

The website's Shuki Tausig explains: "The 'no' peeks out of the way the matter is presented, is hinted in the analysis columns and most of all, hovers overhead as the only possible meaning of holding a public debate on the matter."

Other newspapers and press organizations have followed Yediot Acharonot's lead and have begun hosting a public debate on the possibility of an attack. As a result, the Knesset, too, has started talking about the matter. MK Shelly Yechimovich, head of Labor, is quoted as saying "I am warning against a megalomaniacal adventure in Iran."

However, Yechimovich herself went on the air on Channel 10 and said that holding the debate publicly shows "a complete lack of responsibility" and indicates "an inability of the leaders to work quietly."

Yediot Acharonot is ferociously opposed to Binyamin Netanyahu, as are most press outlets. Only Yisrael Hayom is considered respectful toward Netanyahu – and is therefore mocked as his lapdog. Yisrael Hayom quotes Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar who says: "stop blabbing about Iran." A senior diplomatic source quoted by the paper says that the public debate endangers state security.