News Roundup for September 10, 2019

September 10, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Israeli Leader Says Iran Hid a Nuclear Weapons Site, New York Times
Israel accused Iran on Monday of having harbored an undisclosed nuclear-weapons site that the Iranians destroyed a few months ago for fear of exposure. Iran ridiculed the accusation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel displayed satellite photographs that he said showed the site, and he called upon other countries to join the United States in maintaining pressure on Tehran. Mr. Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem that Israel had first learned of the site, in the central Iranian city of Abadeh, in early 2018 when Israeli spies stole what he has previously described as a huge trove of the archives of Iran’s nuclear program.

Thwarted by Lieberman and Thwacked by Begin, Netanyahu Pulls Out Ace Iran, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu woke up on Monday morning to a thumping by Benny Begin, former cabinet minister and son of the legendary Likud leader Menachem Begin, who announced he would not be voting for Likud in the September 17 election. A few hours later, Netanyahu was bushwhacked by his former ally and current nemesis Avigdor Lieberman, who blocked Likud’s hurried legislation bid for a controversial bill allowing parties to introduce cameras into polling places – though the stay may only be temporary. But never one to rest on his laurels – or idle on his thorns – roly-poly Netanyahu quickly rebounded. By early evening, Netanyahu was spin doctoring once again, trying to shift attention away from his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day by going back to his trusty trademark pitch on Iran.

4th poll shows extremist Otzma Yehudit in Knesset, Blue and White ahead of Likud, Times of Israel
An opinion poll published Tuesday, a week ahead of the election, showed the extremist Otzma Yehudit party entering the next Knesset with four seats — the fourth poll in recent days predicting such a result.


Gantz: Tlaib, Omar Would Have Seen West Bank Is ‘Second Best Place’ for Mideast Arabs, Haaretz
Benny Gantz said on Monday that his election rival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made a mistake in barring Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from the country, adding that the congresswomen would have seen that the West Bank is “the second best place” for Mideast Arabs. Gantz, however, added that “everybody who cooperates with BDS is operating against the State of Israel” and called the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement “a form of anti-Semitism.”

Likud MK to Arab lawmaker: The Jews are a ‘special race’, Times of Israel
A Likud party lawmaker on Monday told an Arab MK that the Jewish people are a “special race” and that the latter could not “preach morals” to him because he was opposed to Jewish statehood.

Benny Begin Blasts Netanyahu, ‘Won’t Vote Likud’ in Israeli Election, Haaretz
Benny Begin, a former lawmaker and the son of legendary Likud leader Menachem Begin, and Dan Tichon, a former Knesset speaker on behalf of Likud, said on Monday that they will not vote for the party in next week’s election.

Strike attributed to IDF destroys Iranian storehouses on Syria-Iraq border, Times of Israel
A series of airstrikes attributed to Israel that targeted a base belonging to a pro-Iranian Shiite militia in Syria near the border with Iraq on Monday completely destroyed at least eight storehouses in the compound, according to satellite images released by a private Israeli intelligence firm.

Netanyahu’s Party Exposed Personal Details, Political Affiliation of Millions of Israelis, Haaretz
Who supports Likud? Anyone could have found that out until Sunday afternoon, using the party’s database, which contained information about four million Israelis that appears in the country’s voter registration rolls.

Opinion and Analysis

Meretz is the last Jewish anti-occupation party. But for how long?, +972 Mag
Meron Rapoport writes, “As Israel’s center-left and centrist parties have dropped the topic of the occupation over the years, Meretz has remained the sole Jewish party to emphasize ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But can it continue to hold out amidst running mate Ehud Barak’s talk of annexation? “

Palestinian Citizens of Israel, Please Go Out and Vote the Joint List, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “Voting in the election does not mean recognition of a state that was forced on you, but just the opposite. The importance and value of the Joint List at the present political-historical junction are far greater than the sum of its flaws and weaknesses”

Netanyahu’s chaos strategy, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “For the first time in its history, Israel is facing a real possibility of government chaos and a deep and unprecedented constitutional crisis. The person behind this crisis is the head of government himself, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is doing it intentionally; it is all part of his plan. He wants to use this chaos to survive and escape justice, and is prepared to use the theory of the ‘Deep State’ to destroy the ‘State.’”

The Show That the Israeli Army Staged Will Cost Us Dearly, Haaretz
Carolina Landsmann writes, “In a country like Israel – where security incidents are routine, and hospitals and the media have a set protocol for handling them – is it reasonable to let the army fake injuries and have the country follow procedures for a security incident so that Hezbollah can be deceived? Should we start assuming that the army is harnessing the public’s fears via hospitals and journalists as part of its psychological warfare against the enemy?”

Israeli PM’s former protege could now bring his downfall, AP
Aron Heller writes, “Polls suggest Netanyahu won’t be able to form a coalition government without Lieberman’s support. Lieberman has played hard to get. ‘I don’t have to join at any cost,’ he told Channel 12 news over the weekend. ‘The prime minister’s policy is simply submission to terrorism.’”

Here we go again: A beginner’s guide to Israel’s 2nd election in 2019, JTA
Ben Sales writes, “Longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is mired in a series of corruption scandals and again facing a serious challenge from former military chief of staff Benny Gantz. Neither of them looks assured of victory, and they may be stuck with each other in what’s called a unity government, where the two leading parties try to run the country together ‘Odd Couple’-style.”