News Roundup for September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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

Virus surges to over 7,500 daily cases as Israel set to enter full lockdown, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry said Friday morning that a record high 7,527 new virus cases were diagnosed a day earlier, as Knesset lawmakers continued to debate the sweeping new restrictions set to go into effect at 2 p.m. in an attempt to curb the outbreak.

Israel Hunkers Down for Stricter Lockdown: Here’s What You Need to Know, Haaretz
On Thursday morning, the government approved restricting Israel’s coronavirus lockdown even further. The new plan, which further limits businesses, movement, prayer and protest, has yet to be finalized, but represents a significant tightening from the lockdown that took effect on Friday.

Hundreds of protesters gather outside PM’s residence, vow to keep demonstrating, Times of Israel
Hundreds of people took part in demonstrations calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation around the country Thursday, as protest leaders vowed to continue to rally within the confines of a tightened national lockdown which will controversially introduce limitations on protests as part of an effort to bring the coronavirus outbreak under control.


Doubts whether protest, prayer limits will pass on Friday as MKs bicker over law, Times of Israel
With hours to go until the start of a lockdown, lawmakers on Friday continued to haggle over a controversial legal amendment, casting doubt over whether it would pass in time to limit protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to take place on Saturday night as well as Sabbath prayers.

Palestinian groups Fatah, Hamas agree to first elections in nearly 15 years, Deutsche Welle
Leaders from two warring Palestinian factions have said they are ready to end a decade-long rift and hold the territories’ first elections in 15 years. Fatah and Hamas say the vote will take place within six months.

Bahrain king calls for ‘intensified efforts’ to implement two-state solution, Times of Israel
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa on Thursday hailed his decision to normalize relations with Israel but also called for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on previous peace plans.

Opinion and Analysis

The Trump administration’s fantasy about snapping back sanctions on Iran, Responsible Statecraft
Paul R. Pillar writes, “The Trump administration’s obsession with Iran degenerated some time ago into aimless hostility that has yielded nothing but negative results. With a track record of well over two years, the Trump policy of ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran has resulted in increased, not decreased, Iranian nuclear activity. The policy has resulted in increased, not decreased, aggressive Iranian actions in the Middle East, including attacks on neighboring states’ oil facilities that Iran never had attempted before the U.S. administration’s attempt to destroy Iran’s own oil trade. The policy has increased, not decreased, the political power of hardliners in Tehran.”

‘Let us consider this woman’: Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg, The Forward
Rep. Andy Levin writes, “We have to resist what may be our first impulse over the loss of Justice Ginsburg – the political horror of it. When people die, it is hard to step back from the moment and circumstances in order to imbibe the lessons of their lives, isn’t it? Especially in circumstances like this. I want to suggest that instead of fuming over Mitch McConnell and all of his blatant hypocrisy, or fretting about or gaming out what is to come, instead of all that let us consider this woman.”

The Netanyahu failure: A lockdown instead of a plan, Times of Israel
Yair Lapid writes, “Israel is entering an avoidable lockdown. The cause of this lockdown isn’t COVID-19, it’s the failed, politicized, negligent and hysterical management of the crisis by this government and by the Prime Minister.”

Open Letter to House Minority Leader from your Jewish colleagues: Jews are not a political football., The Forward
Jewish House Democrats write, “Before a member of the Republican Conference introduces another motion to recommit on issues related to antisemitism, we invite you to meet with Jewish members of Congress to hear our perspective. We would like to share views with you about the effects of these partisan motions to recommit about the Jewish community.”

Middle East ‘peace’ deal is all about Iran, The Strategist
Amin Saikal writes, “The normalisation of relations with Israel by Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates was choreographed to help the domestically embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump. It essentially cements Netanyahu’s long-standing dictum of ‘peace for peace’ not ‘land for peace’, and Trump’s efforts to shore up a US–Israel–Arab front against Iran and its allies. These developments are set to seriously harm the Palestinian cause and push Iran further into Russian and Chinese arms, and they are unlikely to bring stability and security to the turbulent Persian Gulf.”

For America, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a new kind of Jew, The Forward
Talya Zax writes, “Ginsburg’s experience of Judaism was complicated, changed forever by the fact that when her mother died during her teenage years, the community in which she was raised hadn’t allowed her to join a minyan to say Kaddish. So while her Jewishness was apparent in every part of her persona, from her accent to her favored cultural references, she had more in common with the secularized Jewish women who defined second-wave feminism than the Jewish men who preceded her on the court.”

Normalizing Sudan-Israel relations now is a dangerous game, Brookings
Payton Knopf and Jeffrey Feltman write, “Unfortunately, much of the debate around the prospects for an improvement in the Israel-Sudan bilateral relationship has ignored the fragility of Sudan’s political transition and the risks that premature normalization could pose for the strategic interests of the United States, Israel, and the UAE. No one wants a repetition of the 1983 Israeli-Lebanese peace agreement, which, signed by a Lebanese government without popular legitimacy, collapsed in less than a year.”

Israeli prison ban on phone calls risks ‘breaking spirits’ of Palestinian minors, +972 Mag
Oren Ziv writes, “Israel claims incarcerated Palestinian children pose a threat to national security just like adults — and therefore can’t contact their families.”