News Roundup for October 18, 2019

October 18, 2019

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J Street in the News

Numerous 2020 Democratic candidates set to attend J Street conference, Times of Israel
“Several of the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will appear at the J Street national conference later this month. It will be the first major forum where the candidates will be asked about their views on US foreign policy regarding Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The liberal Mideast advocacy group announced on Wednesday that the following candidates will attend its confab: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet.”

Top News and Analysis

Pompeo seeks to reassure Israel amid Syria turmoil, AP
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Israel’s prime minister on Friday to reaffirm the countries’ close ties at a time when many in Israel fear the Trump administration intends to cut and run from the Middle East. The meeting came a day after a U.S. delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence and Pompeo reached an agreement with Turkey to halt its week-old offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Turkey invaded after the U.S. moved its troops aside, abandoning the Syrian Kurdish fighters America had partnered with against the Islamic State group.

Gantz reportedly looking to form minority government with Liberman’s backing, Times of Israel
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz is reportedly planning to invite representatives of Yisrael Beytenu and Likud to talks on forming a unity government if he is tasked with forming a coalition next week. Gantz does not expect Likud to show up, however, which he hopes will open the door for Yisrael Beytenu’s Avigdor Liberman to let him form a minority government, according to a Thursday report by Channel 13. Likud’s absence would give Liberman justification to blame Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party for preventing the establishment of a unity government, the unsourced report said. Liberman would be able to say that one side, Gantz’s Blue and White, had accepted his blueprint for a unity government, while the other, Netanyahu’s Likud, had not.

Remembering Elijah Cummings, A Brave Leader And Friend Of The Jewish Community, The Forward
More than 20 years ago, Congressman Cummings joined with leaders of Baltimore’s Jewish and African-American communities and the Baltimore Jewish Council (the independent Jewish Community Relations Council of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore) to launch an initiative to build deeper and stronger relationships between those two communities. They decided to focus on youth, recognizing that was a way to create lasting change.


Kushner to make Israel trip later this month, meet with Gantz for first time, Times of Israel
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will visit Israel later this month and hold his first official meeting with Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz.

Benny Gantz declines Netanyahu invite into ‘broad unity government’, JTA
In the latest twist in Israel’s ongoing leadership struggle, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited his chief rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, to join him in a “broad unity government.” Gantz declined.

With Less Than a Week to Go, Gantz Rejects Netanyahu’s Outline for Unity Government, Haaretz
The outline, which Netanyahu presented to Gantz by phone, is based on the guidelines set forward by President Reuven Rivlin for establishing a unity government, but ignores Kahol Lavan’s demand to break up the right-wing bloc as a precondition to coalition talks. The plan also makes no mention of a rotation of the premiership or an arrangement for such a rotation.

Leading Democrats blast Trump over ‘sham ceasefire’ in Syria, Times of Israel
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the agreement was a “sham ceasefire” that showed that US President Donald Trump is “flailing.”

Women Made to Watch Public Events on Screens as Israeli City Doubles Down on Gender Segregation, Haaretz
The state is funding cultural events for the ultra-Orthodox community where gender segregation is enforced by seating women in separate spaces where they can only watch the performance on screens.

Likud’s Sa’ar vows to eventually challenge Netanyahu, despite ‘personal attacks’, Times of Israel
“Personal attacks and slander won’t change my decision,” Sa’ar said at a Sukkot holiday event in Tel Aviv. “The days of [primary] elections without competition have passed.”

Opinion and Analysis

As US withdraws, Jerusalem spooked by Moscow’s growing control over Middle East, Times of Israel
Raphael Ahren writes, “Russia is becoming the last global power militarily engaged in the region. Many analysts warn of great dangers for Israel, though one also sees opportunities…”

Why Trump’s withdrawal from Syria has Israel on edge, CS Monitor
Dina Kraft writes, “Underlying it all is the fear and even, as some analysts suggest, a whiff of panic: Could a staunch U.S. ally like Israel one day also be abandoned at a crucial moment like Syria’s Kurds, America’s best weapon in the fight against the Islamic State?”

From Iraq to the Red Sea, Iran-Israel Battleground Now Spans Entire Mideast, Haaretz
Amos Harel asks, “With Iran expanding its proxies’ arsenals, Israel’s national infrastructure is also a target.”

How Blue and White must challenge Netanyahu on democracy principles, Al-Monitor
Akiva Eldar writes, “With a bit of creativity, Blue and White could present the Likud with a list of ideological demands, basing each and every one on broad public support. Not only that, all of them would be rooted in the declared positions of none other than Likud leader Netanyahu.”

How America’s Orthodox Jews Became Trump Supporters, Haaretz
Sociologist Chaim Waxman pinpoints the reasons why so many U.S. Orthodox Jews have become right wing, and when it started.