News Roundup for October 14, 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.

J Street in the News

American Jewish Congress hires Sanders’ former Jewish outreach director, Times of Israel
“A former congressional staffer and top State Department official, Rubin is steeped in the liberal wing of the pro-Israel movement and is one of the founders of J Street, the liberal Middle East lobby. In a statement, Rosen suggested that a progressive like Rubin would reach younger Jews likely to be as exercised by social justice issues as they are by Israel.”

Top News and Analysis

Despite Israel Policy, U.S. Jews Don’t Reward Trump at the Ballot Box, Pew Poll Shows, Haaretz
U.S. President Donald Trump may have moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawn from the Iran deal and brokered a peace treaty between the Arab Gulf States and Israel – but American Jews don’t appear to be rewarding him with a higher level of electoral support than when he was just a businessman running for president in 2016.

Lockdown extended until Sunday at midnight – Gantz and Netanyahu agree, The Jerusalem Post
“The decision to ease restrictions and allow for a gradual exit from the lockdown will require a constant and certain decrease in morbidity rates, and reaching that will take a few days,” the Health Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement following the meeting.

38 billion reasons to vote for Joe Biden, The Forward
Robert Wexler writes, “Biden would restart a positive dialogue with the Palestinians by unequivocally stating that U.S. policy is anchored in a vision of two nation-states — Israel, and a new Palestinian state — living side by side in peace and security. Taking steps with both parties designed to simultaneously improve lives, narrow the conflict, and build a two-state reality would strengthen Israel’s security and bolster bipartisan support for Israel in the U.S.”


Palestinian Authority PM: God help us if Trump reelected, Times of Israel
The Palestinian Authority prime minister has said it will be disastrous for his people and the world at large if US President Donald Trump wins re-election next month. Speaking remotely to European lawmakers, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the last four years of the Trump administration have greatly harmed the Palestinians. “If we are going to live another four years with President Trump, God help us… and the whole world,” Shtayyeh said Monday.

How Evangelicals Working in Settlements Bypassed Israel’s COVID-19 Entry Ban, Haaretz
How Evangelicals Working in Settlements Bypassed Israel’s COVID-19 Entry Despite most noncitizens being refused entry due to the coronavirus, a phone call to a former lawmaker and an application glossing over a key fact allowed 70 evangelical volunteers to receive visas in August, Haaretz finds.

Israel Accepts Ethiopians of Jewish Descent, but Fewer Than Promised, New York Times
The Israeli government on Monday approved an airlift of 2,000 Ethiopians of Jewish descent to Israel in the coming months, prompting angry reactions from Ethiopian Israeli activists who insist that about 8,000 should be resettled.

2 soldiers injured after explosive thrown at them during West Bank raid, Times of Israel
Two Israeli soldiers were injured when an explosive device was thrown at them during an arrest raid in a northern West Bank refugee camp in the predawn hours of Wednesday morning, the military said.

Settlers Attack Israeli Journalist Reporting on Clashes With Palestinians, Haaretz
“We arrived at the olive grove during the harvest season which started this week, and there the confrontation developed,” Hemo told Haaretz. “We saw that the settlers were warning the Palestinians not to start the harvest, even though it was an area they owned. The settlers approached the area – then a Palestinian pushed one of them. From there a riot broke out and the settlers started beating the Palestinians.”

Israeli and Lebanese officials launching first border negotiations in 30 years, Times of Israel
Israeli and Lebanese officials on Wednesday morning were set to sit down in the same room — or tent, to be exact — for indirect maritime border negotiations in what has been called a “historic” achievement with the potential to bring more stability and prosperity to the region.

Tik Tok removes channel of Jewish extremist group Lehava, JTA
The video-sharing social network Tik Tok removed the channel of Lehava, a far-right Israeli group that opposes Jewish-Arab coexistence and gay relationships.

JCB challenged over machinery used to demolish Palestinian homes, The Guardian
The British heavy machinery firm JCB’s sale of equipment used in the destruction of Palestinian villages in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is being examined by a UK government body to determine whether its due diligence process complies with human rights guidelines set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Soldiers again raid Abu Hashhash home, beat two family members and take one to detention on a stretcher, B’Tselem
About three months ago, on 25 June 2020, some 30 soldiers raided two homes belonging to the extended Abu Hashhash family in al-Fawwar Refugee Camp, southwest of Hebron, claiming they were there to arrest two members of the family. The soldiers assaulted three family members, broke one member’s nose and blew up a fuse box in a metal workshop on the building’s ground floor. Several days later, Sari Abu Hashhash (41) turned himself in to the military and was put in administrative detention for three months.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel pays the price for Netanyahu’s pandemic politics, The Forward
Harry D. Wall writes, “The seeds of mismanagement and distrust were planted with the formation of a new coalition government in April, established with the pretext to contain the pandemic. While the country was in lockdown, forcing massive unemployment and economic hardships, the largest government in Israel’s history was created, with perks and budgets for all. The message was business as usual for petty coalition politics.”

No Partner? When Needed, Israel Can Talk to Hezbollah, Haaretz
Ziv Bar’el writes, “As Lebanon tries to form a new cabinet, the Iran-backed group is set to maintain its prominent presence in the government, which is negotiating a maritime border with Israel.”