News Roundup for March 16, 2020

March 16, 2020

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J Street in the News

What does being pro-Israel really mean?, Jerusalem Post
“The J Street slogan ‘Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace’ is not an oxymoron. Or as Sanders recently said, there is no contradiction between being ‘pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian.’ It’s the very essence of what being pro-Israel should mean.”

Top News and Analysis

Gantz Vows ‘A Broad Government Within Days’ After Receiving Mandate, Haaretz
Speaking alongside President Rivlin, Kahol Lavan leader ‘extends his elbow’ to Netanyahu and other leaders in ‘healing Israeli society of both coronavirus and hatred.’

Netanyahu’s criminal trial delayed due to emergency coronavirus measures, JTA
The trial was originally scheduled to open on Tuesday in front of a three-judge panel of the Jerusalem District Court. The new trial date has been set for May 24.

Israel’s Netanyahu turns to anti-terrorism tools in battle against coronavirus, Washington Post
Officials did not specify the techniques to be used but hinted they would include monitoring individuals’ cellphone locations, presumably without their consent, as well as the more sophisticated electronic intelligence and data analysis that Israel is known to have in its terror-fighting arsenal.


Israel ups number of virus cases to 255, with 5 in serious condition, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Monday reported an additional 42 cases of the novel coronavirus in Israel, bringing the total number of confirmed infections up to 255. The majority have light symptoms, while 13 are listed in moderate condition and five are seriously ill, the ministry said, adding that 8,325 tests have been carried out.

Israel’s Netanyahu tests negative for coronavirus, i24 News
The Prime Minister’s office announced that Benjamin Netanyahu and the people in his close circle had been tested for the virus that was first spotted in China’s city of Wuhan. The routine tests are being taken as a precaution measure as the PM has not demonstrated any symptoms, the statement read — and neither has any of those tested.

Shin Bet reveals Hamas recruited Israeli-Arab woman from Israel’s north, Ynetnews
Aya Khatib, a 31-year-old mother of two from Arab town of Ar’ara was arrested 2 months ago and admitted during her questioning to having helped the terror group divert aid funds for terror projects and gather intelligence

Netanyahu meets ultra-Orthodox leaders to persuade them to shutter yeshivas, Times of Israel
Lithuanian Haredi leadership had ordered schools to remain open, in violation of coronavirus regulations.

Four women at forefront of Israel’s Arab political surge, Yahoo! News
The predominantly Arab Joint List won 15 of the Knesset’s 120-seats, the alliance’s best-ever performance and up from 13 during stalemate election last September. The List also counts four women among its incoming MPs, up from two in September.

With most flights canceled due to coronavirus, a chartered airlift is bringing US teens home from Israel, JTA
The entire student body of URJ Heller High in Israel, a high school affiliated with the Reform movement, will return to the United States on a chartered flight, along with dozens of students from other Israeli programs for American teens.

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque shut as precaution against coronavirus by Muslim clerics, Reuters
Prayers will still be held on the huge open area around the two shrines and other Muslim prayer sites on the sacred compound known to Muslims worldwide as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews as Har ha-Bayit, or Temple Mount.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Leading Rabbi Thinks Not Studying Torah Is More Dangerous Than Coronavirus, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “In the U.S., the ultra-Orthodox accept the state powers and play by the rules — but in Israel, they’re so focused on maintaining their autonomy that they don’t care if they turn into a public health threat over the coronavirus.”

Is It Still Safe to Be a Jew in America?, The Atlantic
Gary Rosenblatt writes, “Some critics attribute the recent spate of anti-Semitic violence, at least indirectly, to the rise of Donald Trump, a charge that reflects the deep political and cultural divide in American society. They say that his rhetoric and tweets, his targeting of minorities, his bullying and name-calling have created an atmosphere conducive to such attacks.”

Palestinians were a security risk. Now we’re a health hazard, too, +972 Magazine
Karim Kattan writes, “Measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus seem dystopian to the world. For Palestinians, they are only slightly worse than business as usual.”

An Emergency for Israeli Democracy: Coronavirus Crisis Cannot Chip Away at Checks and Balances, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “The epidemic comes at a time when caretaker prime minister Netanyahu, who is indicted for corruption and fighting for his political and personal future, has too much authority and too much at stake”