News Roundup for May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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

Missouri governor expected to sign anti-BDS bill into law, St Louis Jewish Light
“‘I fear, particularly in our ever more polarized, partisan world, that bills like this threaten to turn American Jews into just another football for both sides to throw around,’ Rabbi Daniel Bogard of J Street and the Central Reform Congregation said in the Senate. ‘I fear that by alienating and angering the liberal audiences that BDS seeks to engage and recruit, that this bill actually empowers the BDS movement. And I worry that any attempt to carve out a special status for Israel — the only nation-state of the Jewish people — only serves to ultimately reinforce the worst conspiracy theories of anti-Semites on the left and on the right.’”

Top News and Analysis

Trump has powerful reasons to restrain Netanyahu’s new government. He should do so, Washington Post
The Editorial Board writes, “Dozens of former senior Israeli security officials have come out against the land grab; so have even some of the most pro-Israel U.S. Democrats, including presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden. Mr. Netanyahu nevertheless appears determined to press ahead. In forming a coalition with his leading centrist opponent, Benny Gantz, Mr. Netanyahu insisted on a provision allowing him to bring an annexation measure to a vote in the cabinet or parliament after July 1. He likely did so because he knows that if Mr. Trump loses to Mr. Biden, U.S. tolerance for the annexation will evaporate.”

Distrust, discord, delay: Israel’s 35th Government is off to a bad (non-)start, Times of Israel
Haviv Rettig Gur writes, “Israel came within a hair’s breadth of forming a government on Thursday, finally ending 18 long, acrimonious months of electioneering — until bitter jostling for cabinet appointments within Likud forced yet another delay. The swearing in has been pushed to Sunday afternoon.”


More Ministers Appointed as Swearing in of Netanyahu-Gantz Gov’t Delayed, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed the swearing-in of the new government to Sunday after speaking to Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz and asking him for a delay in order to complete the distribution of ministry portfolios to his lawmakers.

EU weighs stance amid concern over Israeli annexation plans, AP
European Union foreign ministers will weigh later Friday what action the bloc could take should Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu push ahead with plans to annex the West Bank in coming months.

Active virus cases continue to drop; overnight death brings toll to 266, Times of Israel
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel increased by 22 in the last 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed Friday morning, after a week of under 50 daily infections.

Palestinian Shot Dead After Suspected Car-ramming Attack in the West Bank, Haaretz
A Palestinian teenager was shot dead on Thursday by Israeli military forces in the West Bank after a suspected car-ramming attack that injured an Israeli soldier.

Netanyahu ally Amsalem appointed minister in charge of liaising with Knesset, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, struggling to dole out a limited number of cabinet posts to disgruntled senior members of his Likud party, on Friday announced that he was appointing his ally MK David Amsalem to the post of minister in charge of liaising between the government and the Knesset.

Opinion and Analysis

Annexation Could Be the Final Blow to the Israel-Jordan Relationship, Foreign Policy
Eetta Prrince-Gibson writes, “Twenty-five years ago, the countries signed a peace agreement based on mutual trust. But anger against Israel’s government is rising among Jordanians.”

What Netanyahu does in the next few months will seal his legacy, The Jerusalem Post
Gil Hoffman writes, “For Netanyahu, who will apparently never attack Iran’s nuclear installation as he once thought he would, applying sovereignty is what is left to have as his legacy. After that step, no one will ever be able to say again that he was Israel’s longest-serving prime minister but never accomplished anything tangible.”

Netanyahu Struggles to Find Enough Ministries to Appease Disgruntled Lawmakers, Haaretz
Chaim Levinson writes, “Despite the right-wing bloc having 16 ministries in the new government, the prime minister does not have enough of them for all the senior officials who remain without an office. On the other hand, Gantz suffers from the opposite problem.”

‘A different world is possible’: Palestine advocates step up fight under COVID-19, +972 Mag
Natasha Roth-Rowland writes, “Despite the overwhelming nature of the coronavirus crisis, Palestinian rights groups say the laying bare of injustices is strengthening their demands of freedom and equality for all.”

Israel’s Biggest Challenge in Preparing for a Second Wave of Coronavirus, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “The assessment that Israel defeated COVID-19 may lead to dangerous complacency.”