Media Summary

Putin reportedly apologizes over Hitler remarks

BBC News, The Guardian and The Times report on the terror attack in the Israeli city of Elad. According to the police, three people were killed and several others were wounded by two attackers. The attack occurred in a park in the city of Elad. The assailants were carrying a firearm and an axe. A manhunt is underway for the attackers.

BBC News, The Financial Times and The Times report that Russian President Vladimir Putin has apologised for comments made by his foreign minister about Adolf Hitler having ‘Jewish blood.’ Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office released a statement saying that Putin apologised during a call with the PM. However, Russia’s readout of the call did not mention an apology.

The Independent and The Guardian report on a decision by Israel’s Supreme Court which paves the way for the eviction of over 1,000 Palestinians in the West Bank. After a two decades long battle, the Supreme Court rejected a petition against the eviction of groups of Palestinians living in areas Israel had designated for military exercises in the West Bank.

BBC News and The Guardian report that some 5,000 people in Iraq have sought medical treatment with breathing problems following the seventh dust storm the country has seen in a month. According to the country’s health ministry 2,000 cases of ‘suffocation’ had been reported in the Baghdad province. While dust storms are common in Iraq, experts predict they are becoming more frequent because of climate change.

The Times reports that an Iranian-Swedish doctor detained in Iran on spying charges will be executed this month. The timing of the announcement raised eyebrows as it came hours after the end of a trial in Sweden of Hamin Nouri, who was accused of war crimes. At the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini, Nouri was among the officials behind the 1988 purge of nearly 5,000 dissidents. Nouri will likely face life in jail, with a verdict due in July.


Reuters assesses how rising oil prices have bought Iran time in the negotiations over the revival of the JCPOA nuclear deal. An Iranian official said “Our nuclear programme is advancing as planned and time is on our side… If the talks fail it will not be the end of the world.” The official added that soaring oil prices have “opened a window of opportunity for Iran by increasing revenues, giving the economy months of breathing space.”

In the Israeli media, the aftermath of last night’s terror attack in Elad dominates the coverage this morning, with several security correspondents calling on the government to enact policy changes vis-à-vis Hamas to stop the terror attacks. Maariv’s Ben Caspit warns that Israel must not return to business as usual after the attack and calls for Israel to “exact a price,” from Hamas for what he calls a “double game that is as old as the hills.” Caspit writes: “Sinwar’s last speech, in which he called on Arabs to take up guns, knives or axes and go and kill Jews, came true in the most monstrous fashion one could imagine on the evening after Independence Day in Elad. There can be no restraint after this. We must not make do with catching or killing the savages who committed this terror attack. Sinwar has to know that he has placed himself at the top of the list of wanted men. He crossed the lines and there is no way back.” Yediot Ahronot’s Shimon Shiffer argues that “Yahya Sinwar should be declared a dead man walking. We must not be deterred by the claim that someone else will take his place to oversee murderous attacks against us. Even if that’s true, Sinwar has left the Israeli side no choice.” Striking a more moderate tone, Yoav Limor comments in Israel Hayom: “if Hamas was indeed responsible for this terror attack, even if indirectly, Israel must exact a price. There is a broad range of possible responses, from hitting Hamas’s civilian-economic infrastructure in Judea and Samaria to assassinating the leaders in Gaza—that can be considered, if only to try and deter Hamas from continuing its effort to set fire to the West Bank, to East Jerusalem and to agitate Israel’s Arabs.”

All the papers report that Russia President Vladimir Putin apologised to Prime Minister Bennett during a phone call yesterday for the claim by Moscow’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, that Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins. The presidential apology was first mentioned in a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office, although it was not mentioned in the Kremlin’s briefing on the call. Whilst Lavrov himself has not apologised, the government is interested in turning the page putting the incident behind it, Haaretz notes. President Isaac Herzog said this week that he did not think Lavrov’s comments would cause lasting damage to Russia-Israel ties.

Israel Hayom reports that dozens of world leaders offered congratulatory messages and happy birthday greetings to Israel yesterday, as the country marked its 74th Independence Day. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “Wishing Israel and my friends Isaac Herzog and Naftali Bennett a very happy Independence Day. The UK has always stood by Israel and its right to live as any nation should be able to – in peace, prosperity and security.” US President Joe Biden said: “The long and close friendship between our countries began the moment the United States became the first country in the world to recognise Israel as an independent state, just eleven minutes after your founding. And in 74 years of progress and partnership, we have achieved so much together, from collaborating on cutting-edge science and technology research to trailblasing new regional ties, to ensuring Israel’s security.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who hosted President Herzog on a historic state visit in March, wrote: “In the new period in our relations I sincerely believe that the cooperation between our countries will develop in a way that serves our mutual national interests, as well as regional peace and stability.” Leaders from China, France, Germany, Canada, India, Spain and other also sent messages.

The Jerusalem Post reports Ra’am leader MK Mansour Abbas has vowed that his party would not be the reason for the collapse of the current Israeli government. Citing an interview between Abbas and a Saudi news site, the Arab politician added: “The coalition is fragile but we will try to achieve many goals for Arab society.” These remarks come members from Ra’am’s governing Shura Council came out yesterday and urged the party to withdraw fully from the government.

Haaretz speculates that Defence Minister Benny Gantz is close to deciding the next IDF Chief of Staff, who will be appointed next January. According to the report, all signs point to a decision already having been made: Gantz is expected to appoint the current deputy chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi.