News Roundup for November 27, 2019

November 27, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu unleashes populist fury over indictments as party members back away, Washington Post
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was struggling to both stoke and contain a popular backlash against prosecutors as some of his supporters distanced themselves from the bellicose rhetoric he has employed since being indicted last week on bribery and fraud charges. The divisions were on display Tuesday night at a raucous pro-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv. Angry supporters reportedly chanted “Die Leftist” and “Arrest the Investigators” and carried signs reading “Cops — Or Criminals?” Speakers railed against the attorney general and prosecutors — who have been given security details in recent days — parroting the prime minister’s portrayal of the indictments as a “coup” attempt by an unaccountable deep state and a biased media. One protester attempted to grab the microphone of an on-air journalist as another spat on him.

Israel Strikes Hamas Targets After Second Consecutive Day of Gaza Rocket Fire, Haaretz
Israel attacked several Hamas targets in the southern Gaza Strip, among them a weapons production facility, the Israeli army said overnight Tuesday, adding several hours later that additional targets were hit in the northern enclave, including underground infrastructure.


Likud sans Netanyahu would result in sweeping Blue and White victory, poll shows, Times of Israel
A new election is not likely to get the country out of its current political impasse, according to a poll published Tuesday, unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is out of the picture. The Channel 12 survey found little change in the parliamentary math that has prevented the formation of a government after two consecutive elections in April and September.  That changes dramatically if Netanyahu is no longer Likud’s candidate for prime minister.

Head of Israel’s far-right Jewish Power party indicted on terrorism and racism charges, JTA
Jewish extremist Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein was indicted on charges of incitement to violence and racism and support for terrorism. The indictment was announced Tuesday by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office.

Bennett threatens response to all rocket fire, whether they hit or not, Times of Israel
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday warned that Israeli forces would respond to rocket fire regardless of whether it hits a target or not, projecting a hard-line approach after tensions along the border heated up overnight.

House introduces resolution condemning rocket attacks on Israel, JTA
Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, respectively, sponsored the resolution. It has at least 22 co-sponsors, both Democrats and Republicans.

Israel may completely halt return of Palestinian terrorists’ bodies for burial, Times of Israel
Newly installed Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has ordered all bodies of Palestinian attackers to be withheld and not returned to their families as a new deterrent against terrorism, his office said Wednesday.

Opinion and Analysis

Understanding the Charges Clouding Netanyahu’s Future, Bloomberg
Ivan Levingston and Amy Teibel write, “Netanyahu, 70, is accused of taking about 1 million shekels ($276,000) worth of items such as cigars and champagne from wealthy friends including Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer.”

The pro-Trump Racists and anti-Semites Who Could Bring Down Trump – and American Conservatism, Haaretz
Jonathan S. Tobin writes, “The ‘graduates’ of the Charlottesville neo-Nazi march are repositioning themselves to infiltrate American conservatism. And the White House is silent.”

As Gaza Falls Apart, The Next Israel-Hamas War Is Becoming More Likely, National Interest
Ram Yavne and Ari Cicurel write, “A casual observer could be forgiven for presuming Israel and Hamas again stand on the precipice of war as rockets fly over Tel Aviv and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strike key Hamas leadership targets in response.”

With Brutal Sophistication and No Internet, Iran Was Quick to Stamp Out Protests, Haaretz
Amos Harel and Yaniv Kubovich write, “Less than two weeks after Iran’s protest wave began, Western and Israeli intelligence agencies believe that the regime in Tehran is on the verge of containing it. The violence, which is thought to have taken around 300 lives, is considered the strongest uprising in Iran since the Islamic Revolution brought the current regime to power in 1979. Israeli intelligence officials believe that the authorities have combined brutality and sophistication to stifle the unrest.”