Poll: Gantz Keeps Momentum, but Netanyahu Still Comes Out on Top, Haaretz
Yossi Verter reports, “According to an opinion poll conducted by Haaretz and Dialog under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs, Gantz’s party, Hosen L’Yisrael, is maintaining its post-speech strength – receiving 22 Knesset seats according to the poll. It is the second-best showing for a party in the poll, after Likud, which is in the lead with 30 seats.”
Trump: Israel’s friends in words, not in deeds, Al-Monitor
Yossi Beilin observes, “This disposition was revealed at Trump’s first official meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where he refrained from speaking of a Palestinian state and said that he would support any solution, either one state or two states. It then came through in his administration’s treatment of the occupied territories in official reports, in his representatives’ claims that the settlements are not an obstacle to peace and of course in his purely symbolic gesture of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem.”
As West Bank Violence Surges, Israel Is Silent on Attacks by Jews, The New York Times
“The killing last Saturday was the latest in a wave of settler violence. Attacks by settlers on Palestinians, their property and Israeli security forces increased by 50 percent last year and have threatened to ignite the West Bank, Israeli security officials say.
…Israel’s right-wing government has remained conspicuously silent, wary of alienating settlers and other potential supporters in an election year.”
After leaving the position vacant for two years, Trump has chosen Elan Carr as the next State Department envoy for anti-Semitism. The announcement comes a month after the House of Representatives passed a bill to elevate the position to ambassador level.
“The new chairman is considered much more conservative than Bennett, who stressed that Habayit Hayehudi was not only for the Orthodox. Peretz has been defined by one member of the Habayit Hayehudi Central Committee as ‘clearly nationalist ultra-Orthodox.’”
IDF: Palestinian teens attack troops with bomb; 1 shot dead, Times of Israel
Two Palestinian teenagers were shot as they attacked a group of Israeli soldiers at an army post in the northern West Bank on Monday night, the military said.
Police opened a probe into an apparent hate crime in a central West Bank Palestinian village where residents woke up Monday morning to find Hebrew graffiti messages in various places, including on the local mosque.
80 Falashmura Land in Israel as Thousands in Ethiopia Wait for Aliyah, Haaretz
The Israeli government decided last October to allow a total of 1,000 Falashmura into Israel, out of a total of 8,000 who are waiting to make Aliyah. The Falashmura are descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity, often under duress, centuries ago, and identify as Jews.
The outpost is situated on property whose classification is in dispute between the Civil Administration and the nearby Palestinian villages of Turmus Aya and Jalud.
Forget Tlaib and Omar, Democratic 2020 Front-runners Should Worry Israel More, Haaretz
Amir Tibon notes, “while Israeli officials are worried about the media attention Tlaib and Omar are receiving – which is seen as helping to advance their views and possibly creating more support for them – they are not perceived as having the potential to weaken or delay pro-Israel legislation in Congress. The representatives’ ability to pass laws that would harm or upset the Israeli government is seen as even more limited.
But talking with Haaretz, Israeli officials admit greater concern that close to half of all Democratic senators voted against the anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions legislation proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio (Republican of Florida) last week.”
Batya Ungar-Sargon argues, “Over the past year, many have pointed to the growing divide between American Jews and Israel. But another divide has opened up, and it’s equally distressing: between American Jews and their institutions.”
Right, Left, Right, The American Prospect
Gershom Gorenberg writes, “By the Israeli standards of right and left, Gantz’s speech put him firmly right of center. The overture and the coda were militaristic. The words that set Gantz apart from the current government were his broadside at Netanyahu’s manner of governing. This, and the growing sense that he’s electable, are the strongest reason for Gantz’s rise in the polls.”