News Roundup for November 2, 2016

November 2, 2016

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J Street in the News

The House elections: Doubling the Memphis contingent and other Jewish takes, JTA

“[Rep. Steve] Cohen was one of the first Jewish lawmakers backed by J Street, the dovish Middle East Jewish policy group that advocates greater diplomatic engagement, and also one of the first to favor the Iran deal….Jamie Raskin….has the endorsement of Our Revolution, the movement established by Sanders in the wake of his candidacy, and of J Street, the liberal Middle East policy group….Of the nine candidates who vied in the Democratic primary, three were endorsed by J Street.”

Why I’m debating Morton Klein, LA Jewish Journal

J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “At J Street, we have always believed in listening and giving a platform to a wide diversity of voices on Israel, even voices we disagree with….Mr. Klein advocates for a Greater Israel that I firmly believe would ultimately force the nation we love to choose between its Jewish character and its democracy. His position would condemn Israelis to permanent conflict with their neighbors. Unlike him, I believe the Palestinians are a people whom we must respect, speak with, attempt to understand and work with….I believe open discussion and disagreement between people like myself and Mr. Klein offer members of our community the opportunity to grow in their own commitment to Israel. By hearing different ways of being pro-Israel, we demonstrate that ours’ is a big tent blessed with diversity and tolerance. That makes us all stronger. People are welcome to listen, ask questions and express their own opinions – and ultimately to make up their own minds.”

Top News and Analysis

Unprecedented Clashes as non-Orthodox Rabbis Bring Torah Scrolls Into Western Wall, Haaretz

“The Western Wall was a scene of pandemonium and unprecedented violence on Wednesday morning, after Reform and Conservative Jewish leaders broke through security barriers with Torah scrolls in their arms, in defiance of the ultra-Orthodox authorities who run the holy site. Some of the most prominent names and faces in the Jewish religious world were shoved, pushed and even thrown to the ground when they resisted security officials stationed at the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, and made their way to the designated prayer plazas in a procession….Responding to the events, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office called the protest regretful, saying in a statement that ‘unilateral breaches of the status quo in the Kotel harm our attempts to reach a compromise.’….Leading Wednesday’s procession were Rabbi Steven Wernick, chief executive officer of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism.  Also bearing Torah scrolls in their arms were the leaders of their sister movements in Israel and Anat Hoffman, chair of Women of the Wall.”

Peace ‘a strategic goal’ of Palestinians, says Abbas, Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that peace is a strategic goal of the Palestinians, who are committed to a two-state solution. “We reiterate here that peace is our strategic goal and is in the interest of all parties,” Abbas said at a joint press conference, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa. “The key to peace is in ending the Israeli occupation and in lifting the injustice faced by our people so that the two states, Palestine and Israel, can live in security, stability, peace and good neighborly relations,” he added.


PA reportedly tried to thwart Palestinian police officer’s attack on Israeli soldiers, JTA

Palestinian Authority security forces reportedly attempted to prevent an attack by one of its officers on Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint. The father of Muhammad Turkman, 25, told the Palestinian news website Quds Net that Palestinian forces raided the family home near Jenin hours before Monday afternoon’s attack at the checkpoint near the Jewish settlement of Beit El and at the entrance to Ramallah, the capital of the Palestinian Authority.

Seeking Conservative Bench, Justice Minister Threatens to Alter Israeli Supreme Court Appointments, Haaretz

“Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked plans to submit legislation to reduce Supreme Court justices’ influence over the Judicial Appointments Committee if the committee proves unable to reach agreement on the appointment of four new justices in 2017. The panel consists of nine members – two ministers, two Knesset members, two Bar Association representatives and three sitting justices. But because Supreme Court appointments must be approved by at leave seven members, the justices effectively have a veto over their own successors. Shaked’s proposal would allow new justices to be appointed by a simple majority of 5-4, thereby depriving them of this veto. Effectively, she is seeking to restore the situation to what it was until 2008, when the law was changed to require a majority of at least 7-2 for Supreme Court appointments.”

Students in Jerusalem, Hebron injured after Israeli forces fire tear gas in universities, Ma’an

Clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces on Tuesday afternoon near al-Quds University in the Jerusalem district town of Abu Dis. Bassam Bahar, head of a local committee in Abu Dis, told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided Abu Dis and stationed themselves on the al-Quds University’s premises, causing clashes to break out in the area between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youth.

Netanyahu Urges Diaspora Jews Not to Protest Western Wall Stalemate, Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday urged diaspora Jews to abstain from protests over the stalemate on a new Western Wall prayer space intended for men and women. His comments came as a group of prominent American Conservative and Reform rabbis prepared to lead a procession at 6:30 A.M. on Wednesday to protest the government’s failure to deliver on its promise to provide them with a egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall.

Palestinian woman caught with knife in Hebron, says she planned attack, Times of Israel

A woman was arrested Tuesday carrying two concealed knives near in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

Israeli Settlement Ariel Expands Onto Suspected Private Palestinian Land, Haaretz

Sixteen buildings have gone up recently in the settlement of Ariel on territory not categorized as state land. The Civil Administration deliberately omitted the area from state-owned territory, which means construction is not permitted there.

Opinion and Analysis

While West Bank Dries Up, Villages Thirst for Secure Water Supply, Haaretz

“Numerous rural and Bedouin communities in the West Bank are not connected to a network run by Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, which is responsible for supplying water to Palestinians in the occupied territory.”

The billion-dollar deal that is stirring up Israeli army, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit reports, “On Oct. 26, the Israeli Cabinet secretly authorized a huge weapons transaction that developed under the radar over the recent year: Three additional Dolphin-class submarines will be purchased from a German shipyard in the port city of Kiel. A memorandum of understanding between Israel and Germany is expected to be signed this month in Berlin….According to foreign reports, these submarines (Israel already possesses five of them; the sixth will arrive in 2019) are viewed as the Israeli answer to the Iranian threat, as they are capable of carrying and launching ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. According to foreign reports, the impressive submarine fleet Israel is building will give the country a significant “second strike” capability even in the event that it absorbs an Iranian nuclear attack.”

Just 9 of 55 Republican Jewish Coalition Board Members Give to Donald Trump, Forward

Ben Sales reports, “The Republican Jewish Coalition has 55 members on its board of directors. So far, only nine have donated to Donald Trump’s campaign.”

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