News Roundup for November 8, 2016

November 8, 2016

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Top News and Analysis

Israel tells French special envoy: We won’t attend international peace conference, JTA

Israel will not participate in an international conference aimed at setting its conflict with the Palestinians,  top advisers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the French government’s special envoy to the Middle East peace process. The envoy, Pierre Vimont, is in the region to discuss the plan for a conference to be held in December with officials from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He met Monday with Israel’s acting national security adviser, Yakov Nagel, and Netanyahu diplomatic envoy Isaac Molcho in Jerusalem.

Senior Israeli Minister Blasts Reform Jews: ‘I Can Pass on This Judaism’, Haaretz

Interior Minister Arye Dery blasted Reform Jews on Monday, saying he ‘can do without that Judaism.’ Dery was responding to a question from Yesh Atid’s MK Elazar Stern regarding the ongoing battle by Reform and Conservative Jews for the establishment of a non-Orthodox prayer space at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Dery, from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, called recent protests by non-Orthodox Jews a provocation. ‘I want the original [Judaism], not the imitation,’ he said. The minister called Reform and Conservative Jews ‘our brothers’ but added that he had “serious differences of opinion” with them.”

Top Israeli Journalist Reads Out Netanyahu Manifesto Against Her on Live TV, Haaretz

Anshel Pfeffer reports, “Ilana Dayan, one of Israel’s most respected journalists, stole her own TV show on Monday by reading out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scathing denunciation of  her expose on his inner sanctum….The report provided some fresh details about stories already leaked in the past. But the package created by Dayan and her team was both compelling and disturbing. What riveted viewers most was Dayan’s own dramatic ending. Filmed against the backdrop of the Prime Minister’s Office, Dayan read out Netanyahu’s own rejection of her story, in a six-minute long segment.”


Netanyahu faces hail of criticism after calling top journalist ‘left-wing extremist’, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced intense condemnation Monday night, with one top former ally accusing him of having ‘completely lost it,’ after he assailed a respected investigative journalist and called her “a left-wing extremist” over a critical report into the inner workings of his office.The opposition’s Zionist Union said the premier’s statement was ‘incitement, pure and simple” which could ‘fall on attentive ears and lead to harm to a journalist doing her work.’ It accused Netanyahu of turning Israel into ‘a KGB state in which the regime seeks to hinder the work of the guardians (of democracy) in the media and the justice system.’”

Israeli Ministers Join Call to Permit Jewish Prayer at Temple Mount: ‘Status Quo Discriminates Against Jews’, Haaretz

Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein joined three cabinet ministers and three lawmakers for the launch of a new Knesset “Temple Mount Lobby” on Monday during a conference on the prospect of altering the status quo at the Jerusalem holy site. The session was held against the backdrop of increasing demands by right-wing lawmakers and cabinet ministers for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end his yearlong ban on their visits to the Temple Mount, who said last month that he would revisit the issue with security officials.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Rival Accuses Him of Meddling in American Election, Forward

Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or his associates of interfering in the U.S. election. “In the past, we saw serious information stating that Israeli leaders tried to intervene and influence the results of the elections [in the United States], and the citizens of Israel paid the high price,” Herzog said. “Recently, we saw again information on Israeli leaders’ intervention in elections through people close to them across the sea.”

14-year-old Palestinian Behind East Jerusalem Stabbing Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison, Haaretz

An Israeli court sentenced a 14 year-old youth to 12 years in prison on Monday for an attack he committed with his cousin in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev in 2015. While still 13, the teen joined his cousin Hassan Manasra in the attack, in which the latter stabbed 13-year-old Naor Ben-Ezra, as well as another man in his 20s. Ben-Ezra was seriously wounded but has since recovered. Manasra was shot dead by Border policemen.

Israel issues building permits for two primary schools in Area C, Ma’an

Israel’s Civil Administration issued building permits on Sunday for two Palestinian schools in the southern occupied West Bank districts of Bethlehem and Hebron, according to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT). The building permits retroactively legalized previously constructed parts of the al-Tawani school in the south of Hebron, and the al-Jaba school in southwest Bethlehem.

Donald Trump Calls President Obama a ‘Disaster’ for Israel at Final Florida Rally, Forward

Making his final campaign stop in the swing state of Florida before Tuesday’s election, Donald Trump said President Barack Obama was a “disaster” for Israel.

Palestinian farmers accuse Israeli settlers of stealing harvest from 400 olive trees, Ma’an

Palestinian farmers in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus reported on Monday that Israeli settlers stole the harvest of 400 olive trees planted on their private lands. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank told Ma’an that more than 30 Palestinian families from the Nablus-area village of Deir Sharaf entered their agricultural lands on Monday after being banned entrance since Friday by Israeli authorities. According to Daghlas, the families “were shocked to find out that Israeli settlers had picked the olives of 400 olive trees planted in their lands,” near the illegal Israeli settlement of Shavi Shamron.

Jerusalem mayor warns against settlement demolition, Times of Israel

Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat has warned that Palestinian homes built without an Israeli permit in the city’s annexed east could be demolished if authorities dismantle a wildcat Jewish settlement. Barkat was reacting to a ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court ordering the evacuation and demolition by December 25 of the Amona outpost, where around 40 families are living on private Palestinian-owned land near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Opinion and Analysis

Jewish Voters, Prized in Swing State Florida, Tell What Drives Them, The New York Times

Rick Rojas reports on the Jewish vote in Florida.

The Warm Politics of Minnesota’s 8th, J Street Blog

Benjy Cannon writes, “Freezing lake aside, there’s something about that gorgeous weather that perfectly captures the political temperature of Minnesota’s 8th. Working on J Street endorsee Rick Nolan’s campaign out of the Duluth Labor Temple is among the warmest things I’ve ever witnessed in politics. It’s not that I was expecting it to be cold as much as that I’ve been so rejuvenated by the shared sense of community and solidarity that permeates the campaign….Every long day of making calls and knocking on doors could easily translate into those few crucial votes that propel Rick Nolan to victory and secure a brighter future for working families in Minnesota’s 8th.”

Coming Home to Minnesota, J Street Blog

Alyson Samach writes, “My grandparents’ story is that of a second-generation immigrant family assimilating and contributing to their community….I know it wasn’t always so easy back then, and it’s not like America was free of bigotry in the 1940s. But I also know that the US and Minnesota gave them another chance, and I hope that we, as a country, will continue to give families shelter from war, danger and persecution. That’s why it’s so important that we use our votes on Tuesday to reject the small-minded, anti-immigrant fanaticism of the Right.”

More Than A Strip: Breaking Down Barriers in Nevada’s 4th, J Street Blog

Davis Bates observes, “Our country has a lot of serious issues to grapple with, and we need legislators that prioritize solutions over posturing, progress over regression, optimism over cynicism. Ruben [Kihuen] and Catherine [Cortez-Masto] have worked tirelessly to address complex and difficult challenges in order to improve the lives of all Nevadans. There are few others as well positioned to navigate Nevada’s unique political crossroads as these two. Needless to say, Congress would be lucky to have them.”

Ending the occupation is in the interest of Israelis, too, +972

Uri Weltmann observes, “[P]art of the Israeli public can be enlisted in the struggle against, for example, the settlements, solely on the understanding that they are immoral and unjust. That group of people must be in our camp, but we can’t settle with having only them by our side. It could be that there is a much broader group of people that we could bring into such a struggle if we manage to convince them that the settlements and the occupation are disastrous, first and foremost for the Palestinian people, but that also disastrous for the Jewish people in Israel.”

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