Netanyahu Considers Snap Primary to Dispel ‘Rebellion Illusion’; Likud Rival: I’m Ready, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering holding a snap primary election to dispel the “illusion of a rebellion” within Likud, the party said Thursday. According to the party’s statement, Netanyahu was considering a snap primary to “shatter the illusion of a ‘Likud rebellion,’ which other parties hope for,” arguing that is what’s “holding other party leaders back from joining a national unity government.” Moments after the statement was released, Likud rival Gideon Sa’ar tweeted: “I’m ready.”
22nd Knesset to be sworn in under shadow of possible 3rd elections, Times of Israel
Israel’s 22nd Knesset will be sworn in on Thursday in a ceremony almost identical to the swearing in of the 21st Knesset just five months ago, and with the prospect of a third election in under a year looming amid a logjam in coalition talks.
Uncompromising Investigation Into Shin Bet Torture Allegations Is Needed, Haaretz
The Editorial Board writes, “Arbid’s case requires a meticulous, uncompromising investigation not only into the circumstances of his interrogation, but into the use of torture as a tactic. Such an investigation must also scrutinize the supervisory mechanisms, the procedures for granting permission to use force and the degree of compliance with the law. Finally, such an investigation mustn’t end with an internal inquiry by the Shin Bet; it must be transparent and credible.”
Edelstein: Netanyahu prepared to take leave of absence if indicted, Times of Israel
Acting speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein said on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be prepared to take a leave of absence if he were indicted in the graft cases against him. “That’s the outline that [President Reuven Rivlin] presented and Netanyahu agreed to this outline,” Edelstein said.
Iran’s supreme leader vows to continue cuts to nuclear deal commitments, Al-Monitor
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ordered the Atomic Energy Organization to press ahead with a phased reduction in the country’s commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The reductions had begun in May, involving three different “steps,” with the fourth in the works unless Iranian leaders are convinced that the European signatories to the nuclear deal abide by their part of the agreement and provide the promised economic relief.
Lapid confirms he’s giving up on PM rotation deal with Gantz, Times of Israel
Speaking at the Blue and White faction meeting in the Knesset, Lapid says: “For the sake of a unity government I’m forgoing the rotation. It’s far more important to me that there’s unity in the country. That there won’t be another election. That this country begins a healing process.”
Iran Says Foiled ‘Israeli-Arab’ Plot to Assassinate Top General Qassem Soleimani, Haaretz
Iran has foiled an “Israel-Arab plot” to assassinate senior Revolutionary Guards general Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, the Guards’ intelligence chief said Thursday.
Netanyahu-Liberman unity talks get nowhere, end after only an hour, Times of Israel
In their first face-to-face talks in months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman met Thursday to discuss Liberman’s proposal for a unity government. But their talks ended after barely an hour, and did not make any headway.
Anti-Iran Alliance Falters as Netanyahu, Trump and MBS Focus on Their Own Predicaments, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “The three leaders who have led the anti-Iran line in recent years were each absorbed in his own domestic crisis this week. U.S. President Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry his efforts to get Ukraine to investigate a son of his political rival Joe Biden. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyers reported Wednesday to the first meeting of a pre-indictment hearing on three separate corruption cases. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, meanwhile, has been embarrassed by the mysterious shooting death of the personal bodyguard to King Salman, the crown prince’s father. Saudi Arabia is also facing renewed global criticism on the anniversary of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who was critical of the regime.”
Go with the Arabs, Gantz, Times of Israel
Dan Perry writes, “Nobody thinks bringing the Joint List into government is without challenge, but it’s courageous and practical, as blackballing Arab Israelis is not sustainable.”
Shin Bet Tortured a Suspected Murderer, but It’s Israel’s Conscience That Is Sedated, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “This is what Akiva Novick, the parliamentary reporter for Channel 13 news, tweeted in response to Haaretz’s report that the head of the cell suspected of murdering Rina Shnerb was hospitalized in critical condition after being interrogated by the Shin Bet security service: ‘You say this as if it were a bad thing.’”
Open your eyes in Hebron and see the whole of the occupation, +972 Mag
Eyal Hareuveni writes, “The settlements, checkpoints, and walls that have been the reality for Hebron’s Palestinian population are now being copied everywhere across the West Bank.”
With a Sword at His Throat, Third Election Is No Big Deal for Netanyahu, Haaretz
Yossi Klein writes, “It’s not clear what’s so shocking about the third time, why analysts writhe in disgust when discussing the ‘danger of an election.’ They don’t understand why politicians ‘can’t be flexible,’ why they ‘can’t get over their ego.’ What they mean is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz should renege on all their agreements with their partners and all their promises to voters. The TV journalists don’t have the patience for another election, they’ve run out of clichés and ‘special election formats.’”