News Roundup for January 5, 2021

January 5, 2021

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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

Netanyahu and Gantz Agree to Enact Full Lockdown, Close Education System, Haaretz
Authorities in Israel, as well as the West Bank and Gaza, are grappling with the current increase in coronavirus cases, which has prompted directives to curb its spread but also an effort to mitigate the economic consequences of the crisis. Israel has entered a third nationwide lockdown, and has severely limited the entry of foreigners into the country as cases continue to spike. Israel also announced that anybody arriving from abroad will be required to immediately get a coronavirus test and quarantine at home for two weeks.

Republican Jewish Coalition and GOP Jews in Congress don’t take stand on Trump’s efforts to overturn election, JTA
The Republican Jewish Coalition is not taking a position on efforts by President Donald Trump and a number of congressional Republicans to obstruct certification of Joe Biden’s election to the presidency.

Trump, in Georgia Before Tuesday’s Election, Can’t Let Go of the Last One, New York Times
At a rally that was supposed to bolster the fortunes of two Republican runoff candidates, the president instead turned the event into a lecture filled with conspiracy theories and personal attacks.


EU says it will redouble efforts to save Iran nuclear deal, AP
The European Union said Tuesday it would redouble its efforts to save the Iran nuclear agreement despite what it calls Tehran’s “important breach” of commitments made in the 2015 deal by starting to enrich uranium to new levels.

Daily infections surge past 8,300, with 7.6% of COVID tests positive, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Tuesday said over 8,000 new coronavirus infections were confirmed the day before, one of the highest daily caseloads recorded in Israel since the pandemic began.

Israeli prosecutors spell out allegations against Netanyahu, AP
Israeli prosecutors on Sunday released an amended indictment spelling out detailed charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a corruption case in which he is accused of trading favors with a powerful media mogul. Netanyahu has been charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three corruption cases. One of them alleges that Netanyahu promoted regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the owner of the Bezeq telecom company in exchange for positive coverage on its popular Walla news site.

Social Justice Minister Meirav Cohen jumps from Blue and White to Yesh Atid, Times of Israel
Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen will leave Blue and White to join the opposition Yesh Atid, making her the ninth lawmaker to abandon the party in the past two weeks as the country’s political arena prepares for the March elections.

Fake News, Conspiracies Hinder Israel’s COVID Vaccination Drive for East Jerusalem Palestinians, Haaretz
Coronavirus vaccination levels for Israel’s Arabs have been comparatively low, but East Jerusalem levels are even lower – leaving room for Jewish non-residents to receive inoculations in their place.

Opinion and Analysis

It’s a Fateful Day in Georgia, New York Times
Giovanni Russonello writes, “It’s unclear when we’ll have a winner in either or both races. Observers say the vote counting may well continue into tomorrow, and because the races are expected to be tight, it’s possible we won’t know who won until tomorrow — or even later.”

Netanyahu Discovers Arabs Just Before the Election, but Do Voters Actually Believe Him?, Haaretz
Jack Khoury writes, “The prime minister’s party is trying to take advantage of the rift in the Joint List to attract Arab voters in the upcoming election – but low Arab turnout would also help Likud.”

Pompeo’s ‘swagger’ can’t hide embarrassing tenure as top diplomat, Responsible Statecraft
Dan DePetris writes, “Cabinet secretaries on their way out the door generally try to paint themselves in the most positive light possible, both to pad their own self-worth and to improve their legacies when the history is eventually written. Pompeo, however, takes embellishment to an extreme, as if the last two-and-a-half years have been a golden era for U.S. diplomacy and the institutional integrity of the State Department. “