News Roundup for August 2, 2019

August 2, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Israel’s Do-over Election: A Guide to All the Parties and Who Holds the Keys to the Next Government, Haaretz
Blame practicality or election exhaustion: With only nine parties seemingly in a position to cross the electoral threshold, the next Knesset is set to feature the fewest number of parties in Israel’s history. With the final slates needing to be submitted by Thursday night, here are the main contenders…

Former Shin Bet head warns of ‘bloodshed’ that West Bank annexation would cause, Times of Israel
The former head of the Shin Bet security service warned the government on Thursday against West Bank annexation, days after the security cabinet approved a construction plan beyond the Green Line that ministers say will bring Israel closer to enacting sovereignty in the territory. According to Yoram Cohen, who led the Shin Bet from 2011 to 2016, annexing even parts of the West Bank would lead to “unnecessary bloodshed.”

Israelis Brace for a New Election. The Real Contest May Come Later., New York Times
Isabel Kershner writes, “In Israel’s parliamentary system, no single party has ever won an outright majority. Analysts suggest that the usual right-wing-religious and center-left blocs may not be able to muster a 61-seat majority in Parliament on their own at this point — so they may have to resort to new political marriages to form a government.”

News

All the Candidates Running in Israel’s September Do-over Election, Haaretz
While most of the parties’ lists have remained mostly the same between the two elections, there have been some notable surprises: Ehud Barak’s return to politics and merger with Meretz and Labor’s Stav Shaffir, Labor’s union with the center-right Gesher party and Kahanist Otzma Yehudit deciding to run alone, among others.

Gantz appears to open, then abruptly closes, door to government with Netanyahu, Times of Israel
“I don’t hear well in my right ear,” Gantz said. “I came to replace Netanyahu and not to sit with him.”

Far-right Alliance Fizzles as Kahanist Party Announces Solo Run, Haaretz
Kahanist party Otzma Yehudit initially looked to join anti-LGBTQ Noam party, rather than the United Right headed by Ayelet Shaked, in an agreement that has since fallen through.

Resisting pressure from Netanyahu, far-right Otzma Yehudit runs alone, Times of Israel
Efforts to reach an agreement continued right up until the 10 p.m. deadline, with Ben Gvir saying he had been asked to hold out a little while longer by Netanyahu, who has been pushing for the merger on the grounds that right-wing votes could be wasted if Otzma Yehudit, whose name means Jewish Power, fails to clear the minimum electoral threshold.

Poll Shows Kahol Lavan Catching Up to Likud, Lieberman Grows in Strength, Haaretz
A Channel 13 poll published Thursday evening shows Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party winning a projected 29 seats in the September 17 election, six more than it received in the previous poll by the channel, last week.

AOC just gave an in-depth interview on Israel, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and Bernie Sanders, JTA
In a lengthy radio interview Tuesday, AOC expounded on a huge range of Jewish topics — from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to anti-Semitism to Jewish social justice activism to her use of the term “concentration camps” to her possible Jewish ancestry to Jews of color in Israel to Bernie Sanders.

Editors Apologize After Israel Studies Publication Accused of anti-BDS, pro-Israel Bias, Haaretz
Editors of an academic journal specializing in Israel studies have issued a public apology following the resignation of nearly a dozen prominent board members who accused them of serving Israel’s public diplomacy interests and compromising their professional integrity.

Opinion and Analysis

What the Collapse of This Leading pro-Israel Group Means for the Future of Hasbara in the U.S., Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “For over a decade, The Israel Project was a prominent pro-Israel advocacy group that drew support from Democrats and Republicans alike. Then came the Iran deal, an increasingly right-wing Netanyahu government and Donald Trump”

Do not punish Palestinian refugees for UNRWA dysfunction, Al Jazeera
Yara Hawari writes, “Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was quick to comment on the report saying that this was “exactly why we [the US] stopped our funding”, while Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, tweeted the Al Jazeera article, claiming that “UNRWA’s model is broken/unsustainable & based on an endless expanding # of beneficiaries.” Neither of these statements is true; the funding was cut to collectively punish the Palestinians and their leadership and the dysfunction of the UNRWA is no worse than any other UN agency.”

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