News Roundup for August 26, 2019

August 26, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Trump, frustrated by unpopularity with Jews, thrusts Israel into his culture war, Washington Post
Philip Rucker writes, “President Trump decided long ago that it would be smart politics for him to yoke his administration to Israel and to try to brand the Democratic Party as anti-Semitic.”

Mazel Tov, Trump. You’ve Revived the Jewish Left, New York Times
Michelle Goldberg writes, “Donald Trump might have thought he was going to lure Jewish voters to the Republican Party with his lock-step alliance with the Israeli right. Instead, by attempting to use American Jews as mascots for an administration that fills most of them with horror, he has spurred a renaissance on the Jewish left.”

Netanyahu turns his back on Democrats, US Jews, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “Trump and Netanyahu are rupturing the unity of the Jewish world and its identification with the Jewish state. They are tearing apart the delicate fabric that underpins US Jewish support for Israel, sabotaging decades of bipartisan US political backing for Israel, and polluting the value-based strategic alliance between Israel and the United States in the short and medium term. And that’s just for starters.”


Israel Says It Struck Iranian ‘Killer Drones’ in Syria, New York Times
Israeli warplanes struck targets in Syria where Iran was preparing to attack Israel using explosive-laden “killer drones,” Israel’s military said, and top commanders were on alert early Sunday to see how Iran might respond.

Israel Strikes Hamas Targets After Rockets Launched From Gaza, Haaretz
Israeli aircraft struck overnight Sunday several terror targets belonging to Hamas east of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, the military said.

Hezbollah Says Drones That Crashed in Beirut Suburbs Came from Israel, New York Times
Two drones crashed in the southern suburbs of Beirut early Sunday, an area that is home to many supporters of the Iran-backed militia Hezbollah, which said the aircraft came from neighboring Israel.

Hezbollah chief: Israel cannot intrude on Lebanese airspace without retaliation, The National
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his group would bring down any Israeli drone that breached Lebanese airspace, after a drone damaged the group’s media office in south Beirut, injuring three people.

Top Iranian general warns Israel that strikes will bring end to ‘Zionist regime’, Times of Israel
A top Iranian general, blamed by Israel for masterminding a preempted bid to launch drone attacks from Syria, warned Israel on Sunday that its strikes against Iran would not be tolerated much longer.

Trump Unlikely to Support Macron’s Plan to Revive Iran Deal, Bloomberg
French President Emmanuel Macron pitched U.S. President Donald Trump on a plan to end the standoff over the Iran nuclear deal — by allowing Iran to sell oil for a limited period of time in exchange for returning to talks and to compliance with the agreement.

New Election Poll Shows Lieberman Is Kingmaker – Again, Haaretz
Israel election poll projects Gantz center-left bloc and Netanyahu right-wing bloc receiving 54 and 56 seats, respectively, with Lieberman collecting the remaining 10.

Israel bans far-right candidates for racism against Arabs, Deutsche Welle
Benzi Gopstein and Baruch Marzel of the Jewish Power party have been barred from the snap general elections in September. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was criticized for allying with the ultra-nationalist party.

Joint List Says It Doesn’t Outright Reject Joining Government After Arab Israeli Leader’s Overture, Haaretz
“It’s too soon to declare our final stance,” the party says in a statement after it initially dismissed Ayman Odeh’s remarks that he was willing to sit in a Gantz-led coalition.

Opinion and Analysis

Half of Israelis Want Netanyahu Out. But Do They Want Benny Gantz In?, New York Times
David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner write, “With just three and a half weeks to go, critics say Blue and White’s strategy is indecipherable and its message a muddle, its top four candidates are garnering headlines mainly over embarrassing leaks and infighting, and Mr. Gantz himself seems averse to the spotlight. A spokeswoman said he was meeting with plenty of voters this week and next, but reporters weren’t welcome to see him in action.”

Arab Israelis Are Having a Crisis of Confidence — and It May Keep Them Away From Ballot on Election Day, Haaretz
Yasmine Bakria writes, “Many Arab voters had heard the remarks of Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh last week that he would be willing to enter a center-left government headed by Kahol Lavan’s Benny Gantz – and they were not impressed.”

As U.S. Jews Cool To Israel, Evangelicals Flock There As Tourists, NPR
Tom Gjelten writes, “President Trump’s evident desire to identify who’s most ‘loyal’ to Israel has a clear winner: U.S. evangelicals. Not only do they outpace U.S. Jews in their support for policies that favor the Israeli government, but U.S. evangelicals have also become the fastest-growing sector of the Israeli tourism market. The developments may even be related.”

Why Iran Is Risking a Major Escalation With Israel, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Israel prevented the Iranians from building bases from which to launch attacks against it. But it failed to dislodge them from Syria – and Putin plans to keep it that way.”