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J Street in the News
J Street Political Director Dan Kalik said that Representative Walter Jones, not the Emergency Committee for Israel, represents “the longstanding views of mainstream Republicans going back two GOP administrations as well as American Jews who understand that a two-state solution is in Israel’s interest.”
“There are, at the very least, two truths that seem to permeate much of our two societies these days,” wrote J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove. “The first is the most consequential for the future security, Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel; the distrust of Israelis towards Palestinians and Palestinians towards Israelis resulting in political/ideological recalcitrance of each side’s negotiating positions. The second is the growing ideological and emotional divide in the American Jewish community between left and right especially concerning the meaning of pro-Israel activism.”
The Kerry Initiative on Trial, San Diego Jewish Journal
At a Campaign town hall in San Diego, former Mossad Director Danny Yatom “identified two possible outcomes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: continue with the current situation, or separate amicably. Only one option, according to Yatom, would result in the continued existence of a Jewish, democratic state.”
Top News and Analysis
The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams held a meeting in Jerusalem with US envoy Martin Indyk in an attempt to find a solution to the crisis in peace talks. A US official said that the meeting was serious "and constructive and both sides requested that the United States convene another meeting today to continue the effort."
The United States is reportedly preparing for a possible reduction of its involvement in the peace process, and President Obama is expected to meet soon with Secretary of State Kerry to begin a “reevaluation” of the extent of US involvement. US officials said that National Security Adviser Susan Rice is leading the push for a change.
In an opposition-implemented Knesset plenum on peace talks crisis, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog called on Hatnuah and Yesh Atid to leave the government to form a center-left coalition with his Labor Party. His comments came after Foreign Minister Lieberman said that he would rather hold early elections than go back to the "grand deal" to extend peace talks by releasing Palestinian prisoners.
Six world powers and Iran are reportedly on track to start drafting the text of a comprehensive Iran nuclear accord in May, with the aim of reaching a final agreement by the expiration of the six month interim deal.
Sheldon: Iran’s best friend, The New York Times
According to Tom Friedman, “Zealously pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, actually have one big thing in common. They are both trying to destroy Israel. Adelson is doing it by loving Israel to death and Khamenei by hating Israel to death.”
Rabbi Eric Yoffie writes, “In these difficult times, and especially now with the Kerry initiative on life-support, [young American Jews] desperately want an Israel that appeals to their values and their highest ideals… And they are entitled to such an Israel. An Israel that simply sits in silence, hands folded, risks losing these students—and losing many others in the process. And this is a risk that the leaders and supporters of Israel must not take.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the weekly Cabinet meeting that "unilateral moves taken by the Palestinians will be met with unilateral moves by Israel… We are prepared to continue the talks, but not at any price," the prime minister said.”
A Palestinian official said that “if Israel carries out the fourth prisoner release and frees the rest of the prisoners, including the Israeli prisoners, as has been agreed, it will be possible to continue the talks.”
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni called for more direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians despite what she termed "a real crisis." She added, "We need more direct talks with the Palestinians. And between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas."
Bank of Israel chair: Economy ‘resilient’ in face of threats, Times of Israel
Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug said she was unfazed by warnings from international leaders that Israel could face repercussions if the peace process breaks down, noting that the country’s economy has survived previous political storms and this time should be no different.
Several Palestinians were wounded in clashes with IDF soldiers outside Ofer Prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Israel strikes targets in Gaza after rocket attack, Times of Israel
Israeli aircraft struck targets in the Gaza Strip late night, hours after Palestinian militants fired a rocket at the coastal city of Ashkelon.
The Hillel-affiliated Wesleyan Jewish Community announced its “solidarity with, and support of, the Open Hillel movement.”
Opinion and Analysis
Yossi Verter examines the Israeli politics surrounding the current crisis in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Like Arafat, I recognize the Jewish tie to Israel, Times of Israel
“I, too, believe that our future two states, an Israeli and a Palestinian, will be based on this acknowledgment of what we share as Jews, Muslims, and Christians,” says Munib al-Masri.
Amos Harel warns, “If Israel remains stubborn and closes the door on the talks – as right-wing cabinet ministers are demanding – it will embark on a course that could very likely result in a renewal of terrorism in Israeli cities.”