News Roundup for October 13, 2020

October 8, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Facing International Outcry, Jewish National Fund Considers Backtracking on East Jerusalem Family’s Eviction, Haaretz
The KKL-Jewish National Fund has asked for a rehearing concerning long-standing eviction proceedings of a Palestinian family from their home in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem it won in July, following scathing criticism from the public and donors in Israel and abroad […] The KKL-JNF has faced mounting criticism from left-wing activists, religious leaders, members of Congress, Israel prize winners and, most importantly, its own donors. Critics argue the eviction of the 18 family members would be a moral injustice.

Israel passes 2,000 COVID-19 deaths — doubling its toll in just 5 weeks, Times of Israel
Israel passed the bleak milestone of 2,000 deaths due to the coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced on Monday, with more than 1,000 people dying in a little over a month as the toll accelerated in the second wave of the pandemic.

Facebook bans Holocaust denial, distortion posts, AP
Facebook is banning posts that deny or distort the Holocaust and will start directing people to authoritative sources if they search for information about the Nazi genocide.


As Israel Passes 2,000 COVID Deaths: The Lives Behind the Numbers, Haaretz
The number of those who have died of the virus is expected to pass 2,000 on this week, doubling in just over a month.

Majority of Israelis prefer Donald Trump over Joe Biden: Poll, The Jerusalem Post
A new poll published by I24News and conducted by the Direct Falls Research Institute on Monday found that 63.3% of Israelis prefer the reelection of incumbent US President Donald Trump, compared to 18.8% whom prefer former Vice President and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

‘Israel Has Lost Its Compass,’ President Rivlin Warns as Knesset Returns to Work, Haaretz
Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Rivlin said “it appears we have lost the compass that has been with us from the nation’s founding until now. Our moral compass, our basic values, that are necessary to our existence.”

Israel and Hamas said to reach agreement for 6-month ceasefire, Times of Israel
Israel and the terror group Hamas have reached a truce agreement mediated by Qatar that will see quiet on the southern border for a period of six months, Channel 12 news reported on Sunday.

Israeli Soldiers Raid a Palestinian Village at Night, Terrifying Residents – for Training Purposes, Haaretz
Armed Israeli soldiers wandered through backyards, peeking through windows during a nighttime exercise in a West Bank village.

Ex-Defense Ministry chief’s testimony ties Netanyahu to submarine graft case, Times of Israel
Leaked testimony provided by the former director-general of the Defense Ministry possibly ties Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a major graft scandal known as the submarine affair that has ensnared several of his associates, but so far not himself.

NYPD Arrest Borough Park Anti-lockdown Protest Leader After Attack on Orthodox Journalist, Haaretz
Heshy Tischler, a prominent leader of the Borough Park Orthodox protests against New York City’s coronavirus restrictions was arrested late Sunday at his home on charges of inciting a riot.

Israeli Orthodox leader: Judaism does not forbid same-sex couples from building a family, JTA
Rabbi Benny Lau made the statement as part of a set of guidelines for observant LGBTQ Jews and their families released Saturday evening under the heading “It is Not Good for Man to be Alone.” The guidelines, published on Lau’s Facebook page, seek to reconcile a desire to welcome LGBTQ Jews into Jewish communities within the constraints of religious law.

In Absence of Palestinian Parliament, Tribalism Thrives, Anti-corruption NGO Says, Haaretz
The report describes and warns against increasing domestic deterioration that’s due not only to Israel’s occupation, but also to the errors and failures of decision makers. Thus, the report also bears witness to the vibrancy of Palestinian society, which finds ways to express internal criticism and to demand corrective measures, despite the authoritarian and suppressive self-rule that has developed under Fatah in the West Bank enclaves and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Opinion and Analysis

Message from an Israeli Jew: Please don’t re-elect Trump, The Forward
Shlomo Cohen writes, ” Trump and his conduct are anathema to the values I always admired in America. More importantly, I live in Israel, which depends on the U.S., for its well-being and even survival. But perhaps what qualifies me most of all to implore Americans not to reelect President Trump is that I live in the country that supposedly benefited from his disastrous first term. And I can tell you plainly that we have not; Israel, too, needs to move on from Trump.”

Making a desperate attempt to decipher Trump’s foreign policy, The Jerusalem Post
Nadav Tamir writes, “US foreign policy under previous presidents was generally coherent and predictable, deriving from a clearly defined strategy and relying on relevant agencies’ analysis of national interests. However, US President Donald Trump has eroded the influence of the relevant administration agencies and significantly reduced their impact on decision-making. Most experts in this field feel helpless in their efforts to understand and forecast US policy, which often stems from the president’s capricious and mercurial conduct.”

GOP twists debate over civil rights law to smear Democrats as antisemitic, +972 Mag
Alex Kane writes, “In a brazen attempt to exploit concerns over growing antisemitism in the United States for political gain, right-wing politicians, journalists, and organizations are using an obscure parliamentary maneuver to paint Democrats as insufficiently concerned over anti-Jewish bigotry. It is another instance of Republicans and their supporters using antisemitism as a wedge issue, as the party tries to peel away Jewish voters from the Democrats ahead of next month’s elections, and appeal to right-wing Jewish donors that help fund their party.”

Aiming for regional peace, could normalization deals spark arms race instead?, Times of Israel
Jacob Magid writes, “The Trump administration predicted that the normalization deals signed in September between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain would have a domino effect on regional peace, with as many as nine countries lining up to sign deals with the Jewish state. And while many analysts believe that further peace deals are likely, there is also a growing concern that the moves could spark an arms race, injecting increasingly advanced US military weapons into an already highly armed and fraught region.”

For Israel, tens of thousands of Palestinian newborns don’t exist, +972 Mag
Henriette Chacar writes, “When the Palestinian Authority ended coordination with Israel, it also stopped sending updates of its population registry. Now, over 30,000 babies are barred from traveling.”