News Roundup for December 17, 2019

December 17, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

How Donald Trump is stoking anti-Semitism while claiming to fight it, Washington Post
Joshua Shanes writes, “Last week, President Trump signed an executive order to fight anti-Semitism on college campuses while flanked by two evangelical Christian pastors, Robert Jeffress and John Hagee. Jeffress has literally damned Jews to hell, while Hagee has warned of an international plot led by the Rothschilds to undermine American sovereignty, described Hitler as a ‘hunter’ sent by God to kill Jews who refused to move to Israel and described the Antichrist as a ‘half-Jew homosexual.’”

Trump Is Actually Undermining America’s Relationship With Israel, Haaretz
Susie Gelman writes, “Despite offering a veneer of commitment to Israel, the White House is shaping an environment that is less stable and less safe for the Jewish state.”


Launching challenge to Netanyahu, Likud’s Sa’ar casts himself as savior of right, The Times of Israel
MK Gideon Sa’ar launched his longshot bid to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu as leader of the Likud party Monday, saying that the prime minister  has “no chance” of winning the next elections and urging change as the only way to ensure the continued right wing rule in the country.

‘He Hounded Me’: Netanyahu Rival Gideon Sa’ar Launches Party Leadership Campaign, Haaretz
Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar launched his campaign to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Likud party’s premiership Monday evening, saying that “there is no one in politics for whom I did more” than Netanyahu, and that he does not regret it.

Quoting Netanyahu, challenger Sa’ar demands cameras in primary polling stations, The Times of Israel
Likud lawmaker Gideon Sa’ar, who is challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the party leadership in a December 26 primary, demanded Tuesday that cameras be placed at voting stations to prevent voter fraud.

Defying Israel’s Attorney General, Justice Minister Taps New State Prosecutor, Haaretz
Justice Minister Amir Ohana appointed Tuesday Central District Deputy Prosecutor Orly Ginsberg Ben-Ari as acting state prosecutor. The move comes in defiance of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, who announced that he favors the deputy state prosecutor for criminal affairs, Shlomo Lemberger, for acting state prosecutor.

Immigration to Israel surging, asylum seekers no longer arriving — state report, The Times of Israel
Israel is on pace for a 20 percent surge in immigration in 2019 over the year before, according to new figures released on Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Israel signs Egypt gas permit, becomes major energy exporter, AP
Israel became a major energy exporter for the first time on Monday after signing a permit to export natural gas to Egypt. The announcement comes just days before a lucrative Israeli gas field in the Mediterranean Sea is expected to go online.

Israel has failed to bring economic boon to all parts of nation, Gantz says, The Times of Israel
Israel’s economy is strong, but social inequality threatens to weaken the nation, Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White opposition party, said on Tuesday.

Opinion and Analysis

Israelis Love Trump. They’re Not the First to Fall for His False Promises, Haaretz
Benjamin Parker writes, “It’s not hard to figure out why many Israelis are so fond of Donald Trump. His decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was entirely proper and long overdue. It’s the best piece of evidence supporting the claim that a disruptor from outside politics can accomplish things experienced politicians can’t. “

Netanyahu’s plan for winning an outright majority in the Knesset, Al-Monitor
Danny Zaken writes, “He believes that this time both right-wing religious parties will pass the electoral threshold, enabling him to form a government.”

Trump, Israel and the Middle East: Mayhem, betrayal and ‘America First’, Haaretz
Alexander Griffing and Esther Solomon write, “Allies, officials and now the Congress have sounded the alarm about the U.S. president’s foreign policy. From Syria to Iran, Haaretz takes a deep dive into the impact of three years of Trumpism in the Mideast.”