News Roundup for July 13, 2020

July 13, 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.

J Street in the News

An Air Force vet and a state senator face off in a Texas primary runoff for the Senate, Jewish Insider
“Hegar is the candidate with the most out-of-state institutional support. She is backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as well as Emily’s List, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and J Street […] Hegar is also critical of Trump’s Middle East peace plan. ‘I’m going to advocate for policies that come from national security experts and advance the long-term goal of peace without sacrificing safety,’ said Hegar, who supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ‘I don’t believe his plan does that. I don’t think anyone’s surprised because the way he develops his plans seem to be through nepotism and what’s best for his party or speaking to his base instead of what’s best for the country and what’s best for our allies.’”

Top News and Analysis

Police Arrest 20 After Thousands Protest Poor Government Aid Amid Coronavirus Economic Crisis, Haaretz
Over 10 thousand Israelis protested in Tel Aviv on Saturday against the government’s handling of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. After hundreds left the square after the event, they marched through the city’s main streets, blocking roads and junctions and chanting “Bibi go home!” Police arrested 20 after clashes erupted between law enforcement and protesters. Of those, 16 have been questioned and two will have court hearings regarding extending their detention.

Defying U.S., China and Iran Near Trade and Military Partnership, New York Times
Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors, undercutting the Trump administration’s efforts to isolate the Iranian government because of its nuclear and military ambitions […] It represents a major blow to the Trump administration’s aggressive policy toward Iran since abandoning the nuclear deal reached in 2015 by President Barack Obama and the leaders of six other nations after two years of grueling negotiations.

With a Rise in Coronavirus Cases, Israel Has Little Time to Decide on Shutting Down Its Economy, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “The rise in the rate of new coronavirus infections in Israel has not been particularly steep in recent days, but the rate of increase has been quite constant for a few weeks. The number has risen from 500 a day two weeks ago to 1,200. You can’t attribute this rise solely to more testing. The positive-test rate is steadily rising too. The virus has spread to most communities, and is no longer restricted to specific areas or populations.”


61% of Israelis dissatisfied with PM’s handling of coronavirus, The Jerusalem Post
Some 61% of those polled are dissatisfied with Netanyahu’s overall management of the coronavirus crisis, 19% are quite satisfied and only 15% answered that they are satisfied. Netanyahu and the government have come under intense scrutiny as the number of cases in Israel has risen dramatically since the reopening of the economy at the beginning of June.

Netanyahu admits Israel’s economy reopened ‘too soon’, JTA
“We first went back to work, then we opened stores, malls, schools and restaurants. Lastly, we open event halls, clubs, bars and other places in which there are gatherings and close contact,” Netanyahu said Thursday night, according to a transcript provided by his office. “In retrospect, as part of the trial-and-error, it is possible to say that this last stage was too soon.”

Israel Must Be Ready to Live With the Coronavirus for Another Year, Finance Minister Says, Haaretz
In an interview with TheMarker, Katz said the interim government’s assumption, that the pandemic would recede quickly and Israel would return to normal by the end of June, was wrong.

Top minister urges immediate 10-day national lockdown to stymie virus’s 2nd wave, Times of Israel
Israel must impose a 10-day nationwide closure in order to get to grips with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading rapidly throughout the country, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Monday.

Senior Hamas Commander Defects to Israel, Saudi Media Reports, Haaretz
The Saudi Al-Arabiya channel reported on Friday that a senior Hamas military figure had recently defected to Israel by sea.

Hamas denies commander arrested for collaborating with Israel, Times of Israel
The Hamas interior ministry on Sunday denied a report that claimed the terrorist group had arrested a senior commander in its armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, on charges of collaboration with Israel.

Opinion and Analysis

For Many Israelis Who Grew Up in Apartheid South Africa, Annexation Brings a Horrible Sense of Déjà Vu, Haaretz
Having fled their discriminatory African homeland in the 1960s and ’70s, some Israelis are now deeply worried by talk of annexation and creating a series of Palestinian ‘Bantustans.’