Friedman to ‘Post’: To annex, Netanyahu must tell Abbas he’ll negotiate state

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must offer Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate, based on the establishment of a Palestinian State in 70% of the West Bank, for the US to support Israel moving forward with annexing the other 30%, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told The Jerusalem Post.

An interview with Friedman in honor of the second anniversary of the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem will be featured in Friday’s Jerusalem Post.

Continue reading

A ruling not just on Netanyahu, but on the court’s role in democracy

There’s something ironic about a law passed to defend democracy now being attacked by people who argue they’re the ones defending democracy.

Can someone charged with crimes form a government? That is the question the High Court of Justice has determined to answer, as it began hearings on the matter on Sunday. But the decision it makes will mean more than whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can remain in office. It will tell us about the role of the judiciary in our government.
Basic Law: Government is pretty clear on what happens to a prime minister when he’s indicted – nothing, unlike other cabinet ministers.

How has coronavirus changed the Iranian threat to Israel?

Will the fact that Iran has been hit so hard in the coronavirus crisis, and the economic aftershocks that go with it, change the nature of its threat to Israel?

Despite the coronavirus crisis nearly monopolizing the world’s attention, Iran managed to draw some focus last week, successfully launching a satellite into orbit using ballistic missile technology.

This step towards developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons took place as Iran crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths from coronavirus.

As of Sunday, over 90,000 citizens of the Islamic Republic had contracted COVID-19 and 5,710 died, according to official reports, which Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen and others have said are much lower than the true numbers.

Iran has been the epicenter of the pandemic in the Middle East and its government has faced accusations that, like its patron China, it has covered up the extent of the disease’s spread.

Continue reading

Hauser and Hendel: The matchmakers behind the Netanyahu-Gantz unity deal

How two neophyte MKs punched far above their weight and played a key role in bringing the unity government together.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz – who, if things go as planned, will be premier in a year and a half – and their negotiating teams spent weeks hammering out a deal to establish a unity government.
Again and again, talks broke down, but they always restarted because there were only two choices available to Gantz and Netanyahu: Either figure out a way to work together, or there will be a fourth election.
Neither side had a majority without the other: Netanyahu had only 59 supporters out of 120 Knesset seats, and Gantz had 59, as well, before Blue and White split apart.
Who were the two holdouts who kept the candidates from going it alone? MKs Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser, now known as the Derech Eretz faction. These two political neophytes held far more sway than the numbers would have one think.

Foreign Ministry projects, risks, opportunities in post-coronavirus days

When it comes to countries turning inward in light of the pandemic, Oren Anolik and Uri Resnick pointed out that Israel has mostly benefited from globalization.

With borders closed, flights canceled and countries keeping foreigners out, along with lockdowns, quarantines and other social distancing measures in place to curb the spread of coronavirus, the world looks like a different place than it did just a few months ago, and though much of the changes are expected to eventually be reversed, they could still have a long-lasting impact.
That is why the Foreign Ministry is working on its own projections for what a post-coronavirus pandemic world could look like, mapping out its dangers and opportunities for Israel’s foreign relations

Coronavirus: This is China’s Chernobyl moment, says Irwin Cotler

‘China’s leadership must be held to account for its criminality and corruption,’ renowned jurist and human rights activist Irwin Cotler says

The world must hold the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party accountable for covering up information about the coronavirus, former Canadian justice minister and current chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights Irwin Cotler said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Cotler spoke out against the CCP’s “long standing culture of criminality, corruption and impunity.”

Continue reading

Can the Rock of Gibraltar Tame the Lions of Jerusalem?

Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum tries to model Israel’s future shared society

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum’s work as Jerusalem’s “Foreign Minister”—her real title is Deputy Mayor in charge of foreign relations, international economic development and tourism—normally keeps her on the go all day. But now, like everyone else, she is stuck at home. She decided to stay in almost a week before the government’s order to try to quell the spread of COVID-19.


“I was meeting people face-to-face, trying to meet outdoors on the benches of Safra Square”—the site of the Jerusalem municipality—“because I thought it was safer. But then I started to panic. What am I doing? I have four children,” she recounted. Like so many others, Hassan-Nahoum has now moved her busy workday to video conferencing on Zoom.


On the morning she spoke on the phone with Tablet, Hassan-Nahoum also spoke with a Palestinian-American orthopedist who owns orthopedic parts factories around the world.


Continue reading

US aid to Israel mostly – but not totally – safe in coronavirus recession

American economic activity has declined in recent weeks at a rate not seen since the Great Depression.

Former prime minister Levi Eshkol once said that “when the US sneezes, Israel gets pneumonia.” With the US expected to enter a recession because of businesses shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic, Israel may need to hold back requests for additional military aid, some experts have speculated.

American economic activity has declined in recent weeks at a rate not seen since the Great Depression, and the International Monetary Fund predicted last week that the world is heading for a recession greater than the one in 2008 due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Combine that with a US political climate in which foreign aid and involvement in the affairs of other countries has fallen out of favor, and this could mean Israel will not be able to rely on the US as much as it has in the past.

Continue reading

Gantz got played

Gantz may have been the chief of staff of the IDF, but in politics, he is a rookie.

As Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s mandate to form a government draws to a close, officially ending at midnight between Monday and Tuesday, it’s hard to escape the sense that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoodwinked him.

Gantz may have been the chief of staff of the IDF, but in politics, he is a rookie. He went through three election cycles – more than many MKs ever get – but has very little experience in the negotiating and wheeling and dealing involved in regular political life, starting with coalition negotiations, followed by the years of trying to get policies approved and laws passed in the years between elections.

Continue reading

With Netanyahu in quarantine, how does the government work?

The Knesset has a different challenge – it doesn’t allow remote voting. MKs cannot call in their votes or leave a note or have someone vote in their place.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in Israel, more and more members of the government have had to go into self-isolation, whether due to contracting the illness or coming into contact with someone who is infected.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went into quarantine on Thursday after being in contact with Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, who tested positive for COVID-19.
Mossad Director Yossi Cohen and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat also entered isolation for the same reason.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi went into quarantine a day earlier after exposure to an officer infected with coronavirus, though Kochavi tested negative for it.
Diaspora Minister Tzipi Hotovely is in isolation. Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Interior Minister Arye Deri and others were in self-isolation, along with several other MKs. The only non-minister MK in isolation as of Thursday is UTJ’s Ya’acov Tessler.
All this adds up to a logistical nightmare when it comes to keeping the country afloat.