News Roundup for September 29, 2020

September 29, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Knesset to vote on limiting anti-Netanyahu protests today, The Jerusalem Post
The amendments are expected to pass following compromises between Blue and White and Likud, which dropped attempts to make the limitations last longer, even after the full lockdown is over. Once they are passed in committee, the changes will be brought to a special session of the Knesset plenum, even though the Knesset is on holiday recess.

Rabbis weigh COVID-19 queries as virus complicates ultra-Orthodox rites, customs, AP
Must an observant Jew who has lost his sense of taste and smell because of COVID-19 recite blessings for food and drink? Can one bend the metal nosepiece of a surgical face mask on the Sabbath? May one participate in communal prayers held in a courtyard from a nearby balcony? Months into the coronavirus pandemic, ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Israel are addressing questions like these as their legions of followers seek advice on how to maintain proper Jewish observance under the restrictions of the outbreak.

‘We Jews are not a race’: A rabbi of color speaks personally on Yom Kippur, The Forward
Rabbi Angela Buchdahl writes, “One Friday night this summer, after a Black rabbinical student preached from my congregation’s pulpit, a Black congregant in his 20s reached out to share his experiences in our community. He told me that the first time he walked into Central Synagogue, a security guard trailed him and watched him suspiciously. He almost didn’t return after that. But he loved coming to Shabbat services — back when you could actually, you know, come to services — even though he said he faced questions from congregants every single week.”


Israeli politicians argue over Covid curbs on protests and prayers, The Guardian
With the country recording some of the highest per capita daily infection rates in the world, Israel is grappling with concerns that both the government and society could have done more to halt the spread of the virus. In his Yom Kippur message, the president, Reuven Rivlin, asked for forgiveness for the 1,441 Covid-19 deaths so far.

Protests held near ministers’ homes ahead of renewed fight over limiting rallies, Times of Israel
Dozens of demonstrators took part in protests outside the residences of key Israeli ministers on Monday evening ahead of an expected attempt on Tuesday to advance legislation banning large demonstrations as part of a second national coronavirus lockdown.

Food trucks provide rare bright spot in hard-hit West Bank, AP
The coronavirus crisis has hit West Bank restaurants hard. But one part of the dining sector is bucking the trend: food trucks.

Opinion and Analysis

How Netanyahu’s Attempt to Limit Anti-government Demonstrations Backfired, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “Across Israel, protesters say the prime minister’s attempts to silence them using COVID-related emergency regulations ‘shows that the protests are working’ and has only made them more determined to speak out.”

The US “Snapback” Against Iran – Bad Politics and Flawed Law, Just Security
Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering writes, “Bad policy and an unlawful case do not promote US interests, leadership, or influence.”

AOC ignites a debate about Yitzhak Rabin, Responsible Statecraft
Mitchell Plitnick writes, “Time will tell what this means politically, as AOC risked the ire of both right-wing and liberal supporters of Israel to avoid offending Palestinians and their supporters. That is a remarkable step for a rising star in the Democratic party from New York City, and it has provoked a deeper examination of Yitzhak Rabin’s place in history.”

Netanyahu’s ‘Brilliant’ Mideast Peace Strategy Has a Big Problem, Haaretz
Elie Podeh writes, “Netanyahu’s no-conditions ‘peace for peace’ doctrine, legitimized by Trump, is great for the Gulf. But it’s irrelevant for Israel’s conflicts with its actual neighbors, not least the Palestinians”