News Roundup for August 14, 2018

August 14, 2018

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J Street in the News

Israel’s Shin Bet Detains Peter Beinart at Ben-Gurion Airport Over Political Activity, Haaretz

Yael Patir, the Israel Director at J Street, responded to the Beinart’s detention on Monday, saying that ‘slippery slope has turned into a dark and dangerous abyss when every citizen who dares criticize the Netanyahu government can find himself interrogated over his opinions.’ ‘The clerks of the Immigration Authority and Shin Bet interrogators become, against their will, the obeyers of a regime that uses them as a tool for political persecutions,’ she continued.

‘If the government of Israel wants some sort of connection to the vast majority of  U.S. Jewry, as well as to preserve the Israeli democracy, the political interrogations ought to stop entirely,’ Patir concluded.


Top News and Analysis

I was detained at Ben Gurion Airport because of my beliefs, Forward

Peter Beinart writes,“Israel, like America, is getting uglier. And yet I can’t imagine not coming here. I’ll keep doing so until they bar me outright. When I left the interrogation, my kids ran to me and I realized: This too was a Jewish experience to remember. Our family went to Rhodes to honor the Jewish past. We went to Israel to celebrate the Jewish future—the coming of age of a new generation of our family. And by detaining me, the Israeli government reminded us that if we want to be proud of that future, we’ll have to fight for it.”

Race to Lead Israel’s Military Heats Up: The Four Men Who Could Be the Next IDF Chief, Haaretz

Anshel Pfeffer reports, “The process of selecting the Israel Defense Forces’ next chief of staff, one of the highest-profile posts in Israel, is rarely if ever detached from political and media intrigue. But this time around new depths have been plumbed as Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the IDF spokesman have been forced to put out statements against a campaign being waged against one candidate, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan. Four serving major generals are currently in the running. They have already been interviewed by Lieberman, who will choose his preferred candidate in consultation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and present him for the cabinet’s approval. The nominee will be portrayed as the most suitable commander to prepare the IDF for its future battles, but the decision will be heavily influenced by political considerations.”



Israeli minister confirms Netanyahu met Sisi over Gaza, Reuters

Israel’s finance minister confirmed on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt in May to discuss a long-term ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Oddly Enough, Israel Has Reportedly Asked Trump to Keep UNRWA Alive, Israel Today

Officials who spoke to the daily newspaper Israel Hayom said that the Netanyahu government has quietly requested that Trump not cut funding to UNRWA at this time over fears that such a move could spark fresh violence in the Gaza Strip.

Fire balloons land in south as Israel considers easing Gaza restrictions, Times of Israel

Four incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip landed outside a community in southern Israel on Tuesday, as defense officials were due to decide whether to ease restrictions on the coastal enclave after days of calm on the border.

Top Israeli ministers said to reject reported plan returning PA control to Gaza, i24NEWS

Ministers from Israel’s top-level security cabinet have come out against key elements of a proposal for the Gaza Strip reportedly discussed during secret talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in May. Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said in an interview with the Israel Hayom broadsheet published Tuesday that key elements of the arrangement, including returning control over the Hamas-run enclave to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), would threaten Israel’s security.

Russia to help UN with patrols along Syria-Israel frontier, Associated Press

The Russian military says its forces in Syria will help the U.N. peacekeepers fully restore their patrols along the frontier between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.


Opinion and Analysis

Trump is Making the Gaza Crisis Even Worse, J Street Blog

Senior Vice President of Public Engagement Jessica Rosenblum writes, “Instead of acting as a good-faith mediator to help stabilize the region and secure Israel’s future, Trump, Kushner and David Friedman are eagerly empowering the Israeli right — echoing their talking points, while endangering Israelis and Palestinians alike. The problems of the Middle East are complex and difficult, and the US certainly can’t solve them all on its own. But without American leadership and diplomacy in pursuit of peace, dangerous situations go from bad to worse — and people on the ground suffer the consequences. That’s why J Street is working hard to push back on this administration’s actions and fight for a different vision of US leadership.”

Netanyahu’s strategy of silence, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem writes, “There is no doubt that Netanyahu is able to behave on social networks as if he is living in a parallel universe in which he can focus exclusively on whatever is convenient for him, while ignoring those problems that cause him harm. With more than 2 million followers on Facebook, Netanyahu can push the reality that suits him best, without ever being called into account. He can ignore the fact that he spoke with Hamas. After all, anyone who says he did is labeled a leftist or a traitor.”

The Two-Way Street: Elul D’var Torah for J Street, J Street Blog

Rabbi David Teutsch writes, “We all have a stake in the future of Israel and of America, not only for the sake of their citizens, but also because of these countries’ impact around the world, including on the way young American Jews perceive what it means to be Jewish….At a time when settlement-building in the West Bank, unequal distribution of government services within Israel and changes in Israel’s Basic Laws are moving us rapidly away from the ideals expressed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, we all have a moral obligation to speak up. To speak up against what this is doing to Israel’s Arab citizens. To speak up against the improper treatment of refugees. To speak up against measures that make a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict more difficult.”