News Roundup for January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

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J Street in the News

Anti-occupation, Pro-religious Pluralism Activists Aim Big in World Zionist Congress Vote, Haaretz
“The name of the slate is Hatikvah, Hebrew for “The Hope” and later the title of the poem that became Israel’s national anthem. Hatikvah aims to have an impact on the organization that allots $1 billion annually to Jewish causes, though some of the money has gone to settlement building in the West Bank – something the new slate hopes to block […] In the past the Hatikvah slate was made up of four organizations, but this year it’s running as a collection of 11 groups and individuals including some of the most famous American Jewish progressives – who would be newcomers in the Congress. Among them are Peter Beinart, the commentator and columnist; Sheila Katz, the CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women; and Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder and president of J Street, the liberal, pro-Israel lobby.”

Top News and Analysis

Gantz Vows to Annex Jordan Valley, ‘Hopes Trump Releases Peace Plan Soon’, Haaretz
Benny Gantz, chairman of Kahol Lavan, said Tuesday that he would work to advance Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley after Israel’s March 2 election, adding he expects the publication of the Trump Administration’s Mideast peace plan. When asked about the Trump administration’s plan for Middle East peace, Gantz said, “I hope that President Trump will hurry and release his plan. Several weeks have passed. Many dramatic things are happening in the Middle East, and I’m looking forward to the plan’s release.” In the past, Gantz opposed the publication of the plan during an election campaign, saying such a move would be a gift to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “outright intervention.”

Kushner heads to Israel with Trump reportedly mulling peace plan reveal, Times of Israel
US President Donald Trump’s special adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner will travel to Israel Wednesday to attend the World Holocaust Forum and likely meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz.

World Leaders Descend on Israel for Holocaust Memorial, Haaretz
About 40 world leaders are expected to arrive in Israel over the next few days to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism is the title of this year’s gathering, which will be held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem on Thursday.


Israeli Left-wing Alliance Split Over Disqualification of Arab-Israeli Parliamentarian, Haaretz
The first rift has erupted in the newly formed left-wing electoral alliance of Labor-Gesher-Meretz, over support for the disqualification of Arab-Israeli MK Heba Yazbak.

Bucking pressure, far-right Otzma Yehudit says it’s staying in Knesset race, Times of Israel
Otzma Yehudit party head Itamar Ben Gvir announced Monday that his far-right party will remain in the race “until the end,” defying pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other right wing officials who had called on his faction to drop out, rather than risk falling below the electoral threshold for the second straight election.

Cluster of explosive devices land near Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post
Just days before dozens of world leaders are expected to gather in Jerusalem, a cluster of explosive balloons landed close the capital. They were dismantled by Israel Police bomb disposal experts.

Officials: Palestinian wounds Israeli man in stabbing, AP
A Palestinian attacker stabbed and moderately wounded an Israeli man Saturday near the West Bank flashpoint city of Hebron, police said.

Bennett Orders to Bar Some Left-wing Activists From West Bank, Haaretz
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered the Israeli army on Saturday to issue restraining orders that would bar Israeli left-wing activists from entering the West Bank.

Embattled Jewish Home head says he’ll allow a party leadership contest in June, Times of Israel
Jewish Home chairman Rafi Peretz announced Monday that his national religious faction would hold a leadership primary shortly after the upcoming March election as part of an effort to “rehabilitate” the slate following several tumultuous months plagued by infighting.

Netanyahu to Use Holocaust Forum to Boost Support for Israel Against the ICC, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to take advantage of a gathering of dozens of world leaders in Jerusalem for a Holocaust memorial Thursday to urge them to support Israel’s efforts to prevent the International Criminal Court from investigating its alleged war crimes against Palestinians.

Likud MK says including Kahanist Ben Gvir in government would be ‘welcome step’, Times of Israel
Likud lawmaker Miki Zohar insisted on Monday that offering a major role in government to an extremist politician to convince him to drop out of the election campaign would be a “welcome step” that could help ensure Likud’s election victory.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s So-called Liberals Are Shamefully Spurning the Outstretched Hand of Israeli Arabs, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Cowered by right-wing incitement, Jewish politicians turn a blind eye to the unprecedented changes they’ve long demanded.”

We need a real conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Times of Israel
Naomi Chazan writes, “In stark contrast to its forbearance in April and September, when it had an arsenal of pro-Netanyahu carrots to dispense (including, most notably, recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the annexation of the Golan Heights, and the intimation that Jewish settlements in the heart of the Palestinian territories are “not illegal”), the only card that the beleaguered White House can effectively add at this juncture to assist an equally precarious occupant of Balfour Street is its peace plan.”

The EU has a duty to recognise the state of Palestine, The Guardian
Saeb Erekat writes, “European intervention now can preserve the peace process, despite the efforts of Israel and Trump.”

Ban on Israeli activists from West Bank based on lies and misinformation, +972 Mag
Oren Ziv writes, “Naftali Bennett’s decision to bar 30 Israeli activists from the West Bank is an attempt to silence anyone who dares work alongside Palestinians to end the occupation.”