News Roundup for August 7, 2020

August 7, 2020

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

Top News and Analysis

Early election speculation grows as no agenda published for cabinet meeting, Times of Israel
Speculation was rife Friday that Israel could be headed to new elections, the fourth since April 2019, as no progress was made in a crucial standoff between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz over the state budget, and not a single item was put on the government’s agenda for Sunday’s cabinet meeting, according to Hebrew-language media.

West Bank Woman in Critical Condition After Being Shot During an Israeli Army Raid, Haaretz
A 24-year-old Palestinian woman is in critical condition after being shot early Friday by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement. The woman was hit with live bullets that penetrated her chest, the ministry said, and was rushed to a local hospital. The Israeli army said its forces entered the city overnight to arrest suspects. During the operation, the army said, soldiers used sponge-tipped bullets and tear gas to disperse Palestinian residents who gathered in the area.

Israel’s COVID-19 count surpasses 80,000 as serious cases further climb, Times of Israel
Israel’s confirmed coronavirus case count surpassed 80,000 on Friday morning, with 1,917 new infections recorded in the previous 24 hours.


East Jerusalem buckles under virus’s 2nd wave, while largely ignored by Israel, Times of Israel
Most East Jerusalem Palestinians are permanent residents of Israel but not citizens. Their blue residency cards entitle them to membership in one of Israel’s four health maintenance organizations and to National Insurance, although government accountability reports have found that a complex and opaque system sometimes blocks them from actually accessing state benefits.

Seth Rogen’s Israel comments highlight fraught diaspora ties, AP
Israel has long benefited from financial and political support from American Jews. But in recent years the country has faced a groundswell of opposition from young progressives, disillusioned by Israel’s aggressive West Bank settlement building, its perceived exclusion of liberal streams of Judaism and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cozy relationship with President Donald Trump.

Hundreds rally against Netanyahu in Jerusalem in subdued affair, Times of Israel
Limited protests were held in Jerusalem Thursday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with several hundred demonstrators gathering outside the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street.

Jerusalem LGBTQ Center Sues City Over Budget Discrimination, Haaretz
The Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, which runs a center for the local LGBTQ community, has filed a lawsuit this week against the municipality claiming it was being discriminated against in the city budget.

IDF strikes Hamas site in Gaza after arson balloons spark fires in south, Times of Israel
Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas site in the northern Gaza Strip late Thursday night after terrorists in the enclave allegedly launched a number of balloons carrying suspected explosives and incendiary devices into Israel, the military said.

Israeli research institution to launch human trials of coronavirus vaccine, JTA
An Israeli national research institute will begin human trials of a coronavirus vaccine after the High Holiday season ends in October.

4-year-old East Jerusalem girl dies after being struck in head by bullet, Times of Israel
A four-year-old girl from East Jerusalem was pronounced dead after she was shot in the head Thursday, apparently by errant gunfire.

Occupation routine: Soldiers raid two homes in al-Fawwar Refugee Camp, B’Tselem
In the early hours of 25 June 2020 and 7 July 2020, dozens of soldiers raided two homes of the extended Abu Hashhsash family in al-Fawwar Refugee Camp, under the pretext of searching for three family members. The soldiers entered both homes without masks. In the first, they beat three family members and blew up a fuse box in the metal workshop of another member. In the second, they set a dog on three members of the family and beat one of them.

Sirens sound in north in false alarm amid threats of Hezbollah attack, Times of Israel
Incoming rocket sirens sounded in Israeli communities along the Lebanese border on Friday morning in a false alarm, the military said, amid ongoing threats of attack by the Hezbollah terror group.

Opinion and Analysis

By the Time Israel Finally Allowed Him in for Urgent Care, This Young Gazan Was Already Dead, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “After months of hospitalization with a blood disease in the Gaza Strip, Jalal Sharafi needed a bone marrow transplant, which is unavailable there. By the time Israel relented, and gave him an entry permit for treatment here, it was too late.”

Israel may not top progressive agendas now, but tensions with the pro-Israel community will persist, JTA
Ron Kampeas writes, “The Israel issue isn’t necessarily toward the top of the progressive to-do lists at the moment, but that doesn’t mean elements of the movement are any less at odds with the pro-Israel community.”

Even if Netanyahu Leaves, the Nationalist Right Won’t Disappear, Haaretz
Aluf Benn writes, “The protests have had some immediate results. Netanyahu has been weakened, and has become more dependent on his political partners, from Arye Dery of Shas and Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism to Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi of Kahol Lavan. The demonstrators have so far deterred the government from reinstating a full lockdown and forced it to open its wallet and give grants to most Israelis. Plans to annex parts of the West Bank have been postponed, partly for diplomatic reasons and partly due to the lack of public enthusiasm.”

Tel Aviv’s flag show can’t cover up Israel’s role in Lebanon’s crisis, +972 Mag
Orly Noy writes, “After decades of war and occupation, Israelis should not act surprised when Lebanese and Palestinians refuse to gush over their gestures of solidarity.”

Israel struggles to reach out to Lebanon after blast, Mordechai Goldman
Michael Goldman writes, “Not all Israelis were pleased with Tel Aviv’s gesture of solidarity with Lebanon, with quite a few saying that lighting the city hall up like the Lebanese flag went too far.”