News Roundup for March 11, 2020

March 11, 2020

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Top News and Analysis

Orly Levy’s flipflop kills minority government, The Jerusalem Post
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s chances of building a coalition took a blow on Tuesday, when Gesher leader Orly Levy-Abecassis left the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance and announced she would not back a minority government dependent on the Joint List of Arab parties.

Meretz leaders savage Levy-Abekasis for ‘betrayal’ in opposing Gantz government, Times of Israel
Left-wing leaders savaged their former political ally MK Orly Levy-Abekasis on Wednesday after she announced she would not support a minority government led by the centrist Blue and White party that was backed by the Arab-majority Joint List. On Tuesday, she appeared to deliver a possibly fatal blow to Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s chances to form a government, announcing in a Facebook post that a Joint List-backed minority government “violates basic norms and values,” that she would not vote for such a government, and that she no longer sees herself beholden to her alliance with Labor and Meretz.

Fifteen-year-old Shot Dead by Israeli Army in West Bank Clashes, Palestinians Report, Haaretz
A 15-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli army fire during clashes in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Wednesday. According to the ministry’s report, 16 other Palestinians were wounded, two of them gravely. The clashes erupted against the backdrop of a tour by Israeli settlers to a fortress at an archaeological site near Nablus in Area B, a zone that up 22 percent of the West Bank, and is under Palestinian AUthority civilian control and Israeli security control. According to the settlers, the fortress dates back to the Hasmonean era.


Israeli president urges deadlocked blocs to consider unity, AP
Israel’s largely ceremonial president on Wednesday urged the country’s opposing blocs to find a way to come together in the wake of Israel’s third inconclusive election in less than a year.

Number of coronavirus cases in Israel jumps to 70, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry late Tuesday sent out additional itineraries of Israelis and tourists who were found to be carrying the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country climbed by 12 to 70 total.

‘Sometimes You Need to Make Deals With the Devil’: Arab Israelis Stand Tall After Election, but Warn Against Fourth Round, Haaretz
The Joint List – an alliance of four parties representing an eclectic mix of communists, secularists, religious Islamists and Palestinian nationalists – won two more seats in this election than in the previous round on September 17. Kahol Lavan – the second largest party in the Knesset after Likud – now has no chance of ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without its support.

Amid coronavirus cancellations, Republican Jewish Coalition to hold its conference with Trump as a speaker, JTA
As events around the world are canceled because of the coronavirus, at least one major Jewish gathering is going forward: this weekend’s Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas.

A virus that doesn’t respect borders’: Life under lockdown in Bethlehem, +972 Mag
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in Bethlehem, an Israeli-imposed lockdown has left the city’s streets and stores deserted at the height of tourist season.

Israel bars gatherings over 2,000 people, limits visits to sick or elderly, Times of Israel
Israel on Tuesday announced several new measures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus, including banning gatherings of more than 2,000 people and limiting visits to hospitals and retirement homes.

Ex-Shin Bet Chief Predicts Israel’s Future: Either Bad, or Very Bad, Haaretz
If Israel adopts the Trump plan, it will trigger a right-wing messianic ideology that will spark chaos – declares Carmi Gillon, who asserts Jewish terrorists are no longer on the margins.

Opinion and Analysis

The Israeli Center Is Making Peace With the Country’s Arabs. But They Haven’t Made History Yet, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “The fact that most of Gantz’s party and the Joint List, and as far as we know even Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, are prepared to vote together for a new government is a turning point.”

Does Israel’s Gantz stand a chance at establishing a government?, Al-Monitor
Mazal Mualem writes, “A bargaining chip for dealing with the Likud. That’s how Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz described the option of forming a minority government with the support of the Arab Joint List after the September 2019 election. For the past few days, however, he has pushed ahead with the same idea and fully intends to implement it.”

What the Israeli Arab Party’s Election Gains Actually Mean, Haaretz
Maurice Ebileeni writes, “I would like to believe that the Joint List has managed to create a flicker of light in the Israeli darkness and demonstrated that it is still possible to take advance toward the idea of a better reality where we might think together of how to make this place habitable for its 13 million inhabitants.”

What Israel’s rising divisions mean for its Arabs – both free and occupied, The National
Michael Young writes, “The results of Israel’s recent elections showed that the ground is shifting when it comes to the country’s relationship with its Arab population.”

Israel’s Latest Highway to Apartheid, Haaretz
The Editorial Board writes, “While the public’s attention is focused on the coronavirus and the endless attempts to form a government, ‘life itself’ continues as usual: Israel has started planning a new road in the West Bank that Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has already nicknamed ‘the sovereignty road.’”