News Roundup for October 8, 2019

October 8, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Israel Was Surprised by Trump’s Decision to Withdraw From Syria, Allow Turkey to Start Operation, Haaretz
Israel was surprised by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria and allow Turkey to begin a military operation in the area. The decision, which was announced by the White House on Sunday night, caught senior officials in Israel’s security and diplomatic ranks by complete surprise.

Republicans unload on Trump for Syria shift when he needs them most, Politico
At a time when Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided over impeachment, President Donald Trump is uniting Congress — in condemnation of his Syria policies.

Netanyahu hearings end, but defense gets two more weeks for written submissions, Times of Israel
Unsourced reports in Hebrew-language media said Mandelblit determined at the end of the hearings that there was no need for supplementary investigation into the allegations in the light of the Netanyahu defense team’s presentations. They said Netanyahu’s lawyers asked to submit further defense material in writing to complete their presentation, and that Mandeblit gave them until the end of the Sukkot holiday, two weeks from now, to do so.


US Ambassador Friedman at Evangelical rally: ‘Jerusalem literally keeps us safe’, Times of Israel
“Jerusalem does not only move us spiritually. It literally keeps us safe,” said Friedman. “Let me be clear about an important point: no quantity of bombs or fighter jets or troops really guarantees anyone’s security. What makes a people safe, what makes us all safe, is when we stand for something, when we collectively share values, beliefs, goals and a common history. That’s what Israel’s enemies try to deny it when they object so angrily to the Pilgrimage Road. Because if Israel, God forbids, loses its history, it stands for nothing, and it is no longer safe.”

Sen. Graham calls troop withdrawal from northern Syria a ‘nightmare for Israel’, JTA
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina criticized President Donald Trump over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria and expressed concern for Israel.

Incoming top EU diplomat commits to save Iran nuclear deal, AP
The Spaniard set to become the European Union’s point-man in Iran says the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran must be preserved.

Police minister called racist after blaming Arab culture for violence, Times of Israel
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Monday attributed a recent wave of violence in Arab Israeli communities to residents’ culture, drawing accusations of racism from Arab lawmakers.

Report: Iran plans to start using more advanced centrifuges, AP
Iran plans to start using a new array of advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium, the country’s nuclear chief said Monday according to state television, in a move likely to intensify pressure on Europe to save Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal with world powers.

Religious right opinion leaders call on Netanyahu to step down, Al-Monitor
On Oct. 4 Dudu Sa’ada, one of the sector’s opinion leaders, called on Netanyahu to appoint a replacement. Sa’ada is the chairman of B’Sheva, which organizes various events such as the Jerusalem Convention, prints the weekly Religious Zionist B’Sheva newspaper and runs Channel 7.

Liberman: Netanyahu may be having my family tailed, Regev is an ‘animal’, Times of Israel
Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman has launched a scathing broadside at the Likud party and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who he said may have been having him and his family followed by private investigators as a form of intimidation.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump’s Syria decision reflects his stunning ignorance of the situation, Washington Post
The Editorial Board writes, “The White House statement announcing Mr. Trump’s decision and the presidential tweets that followed it reflected a stunning ignorance of the situation on the ground. Mr. Trump claimed that the invading Turkish forces would take care of the thousands of imprisoned Islamic State militants. But the camps that hold them are outside the area Mr. Erdogan plans to seize — and, in any case, the Turkish army ‘has neither the intent, desire, nor capacity’ to take on that job, as the former U.S. envoy to the region, Brett McGurk, tweeted”

Forgive Us, American Jews, for We Have Sinned Against You, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “In its time of distress, Israel seemed to be siding with American Jewry’s worst enemies. Like them, the Jewish state did not hide its disdain for the liberal values that are shared by the vast majority of American Jews. Netanyahu’s tirades against defeatist leftists, the free press and vast international conspiracies masterminded by George Soros echoed the staple bile of racist right-wing kooks, even if some of them have found temporary residence in the White House.”

How Israeli doctors enable the Shin Bet’s torture industry, +972 Mag
Ruchama Marton writes, “From approving brutal interrogation techniques to writing false medical reports, doctors in Israel have taken an active role in the torture of Palestinian prisoners.”

Eliminating Violence in the Israeli Arab Community Is in Everyone’s Interest, Haaretz
Ayman Odeh writes, “Two weeks ago I visited Kafr Yasif in the north to console the Dirawi family after their son Adib was murdered. In the mourners’ tent, the father Naif angrily told us that the police had barely been in touch with him since he buried his son. Every victim is an entire world, but the sadness and anger are shared by thousands of families in the Arab community who have lost their dear ones – 1,386 people killed since 2000, 73 this year alone. We are in an emergency situation.”