News Roundup for July 18, 2018

July 18, 2018

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

Top News and Analysis

IDF Calls for Israeli Political Pressure on Gaza Civilians in Last-ditch Effort to Avoid War, Haaretz

Yaniv Kubovich reports, “The army is urging the government to exhaust efforts to exert civilian pressure on the Gaza Strip before deciding to launch a military operation. Senior officers understand that the government is under pressure over its failure to stop incendiary kites and other attacks from Gaza, and that the chances of war have risen significantly over the past few days. They are therefore preparing for the possibility that a military operation will be ordered.”

Why Netanyahu liked what he saw from Trump in Helsinki, CNN

Ian Lee writes, “Netanyahu has extensively lobbied both Russian and US governments. He has made numerous visits to Russia to discuss the situation in Syria. The latest was on July 11, just five days before the Trump-Putin summit. The Prime Minister wants Iran out of Syria altogether, but if that is perhaps asking too much, then Netanyahu still believes Russia could be willing to push Iran far away from the Israeli-Syria frontier on the Golan Heights.”



Knesset rescinds ability of PM to declare war without cabinet approval, Times of Israel

The Knesset on Tuesday rescinded legislation which gave the prime minister the authority to declare war upon consulting only the defense minister and not via a full cabinet vote.

Israel warns Syrians away from frontier as Assad closes in, Reuters

Dozens of Syrians approached the Israeli frontier on the Golan Heights on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to seek help or sanctuary from a Russian-backed Syrian army offensive, before turning back after a warning from Israeli forces.

Iran ‘preparing’ to enrich if nuclear deal fails: official, i24NEWS

Iran is ready to boost its uranium enrichment to higher levels if talks fail with Europe on salvaging the nuclear deal, a top official said Tuesday. “We have of course adopted some measures in order to prepare the ground for eventually increasing the level of enrichment if it is needed and if the negotiations with the Europeans fail,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman and vice-president of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, told a news conference in Tehran.

Satellite images show building leveled in alleged Israeli strike on Syrian base, Times of Israel

Satellite images released by an Israeli intelligence firm on Tuesday showed the extensive damage done to at least one building, in a deadly airstrike on a Syrian airfield earlier this week that was blamed on Israel. The bombing raid targeted Al-Nayrab airbase, adjacent to Aleppo’s international airport, in northern Syria late Sunday night, according to Syrian state media. The facility was identified in the past as a base for Iranian forces, including Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Prominent Jewish Donor to Israel Questioned by Airport Security Over ‘Palestine’ Pamphlet, Haaretz

A prominent Jewish-American philanthropist was delayed for security questioning at Ben-Gurion Airport this week after a pro-Palestinian pamphlet was found in his suitcase. The incident involving attorney Meyer Koplow took place on Sunday and has drawn strong criticism from the American-Jewish community in recent days.

Contentious nation-state bill passes committee ahead of vote, Times of Israel

After days of deliberation and revision, the contentious nation-state bill on Wednesday passed its final committee reading before it is set to come up for its final vote in the Knesset plenum later in the day or on Thursday.


Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Knesset Is Debating Democracy Itself, Foreign Policy

Ben Lynfield writes, “On May 14, 1948, the new state of Israel proclaimed its independence as a democracy with a promise to “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants.” That pledge was always more of a promise than a rule. In practice, members of Israel’s Arab minority have suffered various degrees of discrimination since 1948 — but there has never been an attempt to formally define them as second-class citizens until now. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, will vote this week on what’s known as a basic law, a type of legislation that helps form Israel’s de facto constitution. This basic law is titled ‘Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People’ and would promote and enshrine Jewish nationalist aspects of Israeli governance at the expense of the democratic value of equality among all citizens.”

Why Binyamin Netanyahu is fudging east European history, Economist

The Economist writes, “Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, is due to arrive on his first official visit to Israel on July 18th. Leaders of the Jewish community in Hungary have repeatedly condemned the government of Mr Orban’s Fidesz party for minimizing the role played by the country’s regime during the Holocaust in the deportation and murder of over half a million Hungarian Jews….Israel’s leaders have generally been the first to support Jews around the world on such matters. But Mr Netanyahu has pointedly refused to condemn the attacks on Mr Soros. He seems content to let Poland and Hungary revise history as long as they serve his political purposes.”

“Knesset members entering Al-Aqsa provoke Palestinians, Al-Monitor

Ahmad Abu Amer writes, “Israelis are taking advantage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent decision to allow Knesset members to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque every three months, angering Palestinians in Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Christians, Jews and Muslims all consider the Jerusalem compound holy for their own reasons. Netanyahu’s July 3 decision, which threatens to escalate tensions in the region, comes less than two years after he banned Israeli parliamentarians and ministers from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque because of the deteriorating security situation in the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem.”