(Israel Government Press Office)
Two papers discuss the Cabinet's decision to approve draft legislation that would limit the President's ability to issue pardons in the context of prisoner exchange deals:
Ma'ariv suggests that while the legislation may have intrinsic merit, the motives behind it are purely political. The author claims that the recommendations of the Shamgar committee, which was appointed in the wake of the deal to free Gilad Shalit, were not adopted by the government precisely because "They would limit the government's power," i.e. do exactly what the draft legislation approved yesterday would do. The paper says that Minister Naftali Bennett, the main proponent of the law, "is forcing Israeli society to deal with a very sensitive issue: The value of captives versus capitulating to terrorism."
Yediot Aharonot says: "In the future as well, we will need to leave a large degree of discretion in the hands of the leadership, the hands of which must not be tied in making decisions regarding the lives of Israelis who are taken captive." The author reminds his readers that "Netanyahu, who for years preached to world leaders about the disastrous consequences that would befall their countries if they gave in to terrorism, released 1,027 terrorists for Gilad Shalit," and suggests that if any of his predecessors would have done so, "One could only imagine that Netanyahu would have attacked them wildly for the poor judgment they showed in giving in to terrorism."
Two papers discuss the presidential elections, which will be held tomorrow:
Haaretz believes that the new president should focus on the most vital domestic task: “Rescuing democracy from the forces that threaten to destroy it in the name of nationalism, racism and persecution of minorities.” The editor states: “Two of the five candidates stand out for their steadfast commitment to democracy and human rights: MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) and former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner,” and adds: “their firm stands in favor of protecting democracy and human rights make these two the most suitable candidates for president.”
The Jerusalem Post discusses the controversy surrounding the elections, and comments that “The people have the right to expect more of their No. 1 citizen than that he not be indicted for or convicted of a crime.” The editor contends that “After the disgrace that Moshe Katsav brought upon the presidency,” it is befitting that we rule out doubtful candidates: “Not everyone who is not a criminal deserves to be considered to represent Israel.”
Yisrael Hayom criticizes yesterday's ceremony at the Vatican and asserts: "President Peres and Pope Francis joined together to allow Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen to be portrayed as a man of peace exactly when it was necessary to expose the hypocrisy of his joining with Hamas." The author believes that "There is no doubt that yesterday's show will win positive headlines for Peres around the world, but it will also allow Abbas the refuser to continue masquerading as a man of peace even as he unites with the murderous Hamas."
[Yossi Melman, Shimon Shiffer and Isi Leibler wrote today's articles in Ma'ariv, Yediot Aharonot and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]