News Roundup for September 9, 2019

September 9, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Likud’s camera law thwarted after failing to gain majority in committee, Times of Israel
A controversial bill that would allow party operatives to bring cameras into polling stations during next week’s elections failed to gain a majority in the Knesset Regulatory committee Monday, leaving the Likud-proposed legislation without an immediate path to become law before the September 17 vote.

Echoing Trump, Israeli leader pushes for election cameras, AP
In a strategy reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Israel’s prime minister is preemptively claiming to be a victim of electoral fraud as the country prepares to head to elections. In a Facebook video Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused his opponents of conspiring to “steal” the election. He also pushed through his Cabinet a proposal to install cameras in voting stations to prevent what supporters claim is fraud in Arab districts. The proposal drew renewed accusations that Netanyahu was promoting racism and incitement against the country’s Arab minority.

Nine Days to Elections: Netanyahu Deploys Trump’s ‘Election Fraud’ Canard, to Devastating Effect, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The ‘election fraud’ canard may have been conceived, developed and put through experimental trials at the White House, but it is Netanyahu who has now deployed the stink bomb under actual combat conditions. The results so far should please Trump immensely: His election fraud con job, modified by Netanyahu to suit local conditions, has overwhelmed the election campaign, seized control of its agenda and laid waste to the carefully laid plans of Netanyahu’s rivals.”


Election Won’t Be Supervised by ‘Netanyahu’s Private Militia,’ Lieberman Says, Haaretz
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday his party opposes a bill promoted by the government which would allow political representatives to film at voting ballots in the September 17 election, saying monitoring should be unified and not conducted by “Netanyahu’s private militia.”

Israel’s Cabinet approves proposed legislation to allow cameras inside polling places, JTA
Israel’s Cabinet unanimously approved proposed legislation that would allow election observers to use cameras inside polling places. The proposal being championed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was approved on Sunday. Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who opposes the proposed legislation, attended the meeting. He said he is not opposed to using cameras to observe at polling places, but objects to the speed with which this legislation was proposed. He called for such legislation to be presented in a more organized fashion and said it is not something that can be taken care of before next week’s election.  He said it could “undermine the entire election.”

Israeli President Delivers Rare Rebuke After Netanyahu Gov’t Approves Cameras in Ballots, Haaretz
The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a bill which would allow election supervisors appointed by political parties to film voters in ballots during Election Day on September 17.

Knesset legal adviser joins AG in opposing ‘unconstitutional’ Camera Bill, Times of Israel
The Knesset’s legal adviser on Sunday joined Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in opposing legislation that would allow party officials to monitor polling stations with cameras during, calling the bill pushed by Likud “unconstitutional.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry halts diplomatic activity worldwide over budget shortfall, JTA
The ministry on Sunday announced the cessation of all expenditures, limiting the travel of diplomats around the world and in Jerusalem, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Rocket fired at southern Israel from Gaza as Egypt seeks to calm tensions, Times of Israel
At least one rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Sunday night, landing inside the enclave, short of the border, the army said.

Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after two attacks from coastal strip, JTA
Israel targeted Hamas military targets in northern Gaza early Saturday morning after five rockets were launched from Gaza at southern Israel communities.

Two Israelis Stabbed in West Bank Terror Attack, Army Says, Haaretz
After an initial investigation, the army said that they are treating the incident as a terror attack. “A terrorist stabbed two Israeli citizens after they entered the village for medical treatment,” an Israeli army statement said. “Security forces are working to arrest the perpetrator.”

France insists downgraded Iran deal not dead, Middle East Eye
“The channels for dialogue are still open, including today… [but] Iran must give up such actions,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday, accusing Iran of “making a bad response to a bad decision by the Americans”.

Opinion and Analysis

Why American Jews should care about Israel’s Elections Committee move to tackle voter suppression, JTA
Mickey Gitzin writes, “American Jews who care deeply about democracy at home and also support Israel have an obligation to fight for democracy in Israel. Whatever your opinion on how much American Jews should be allowed to criticize Israel, fundamental threats to democracy — of which denial of the right to vote is one — constitute a red line. Any and every friend of Israel must fight for the health of Israeli democracy.”

Netanyahu, unleashed in his fight for political survival, Times of Israel
Sebastien Levi writes, “Netanyahu’s latest attack on the media is only the latest of his determined attacks on all the gatekeepers that still exist (for how long?) in the Israeli democracy.”

Trump’s Comments on the ‘Disloyalty’ of Jews Have a Sordid History, The Nation
Eric Alterman writes, “The ideological transformation of the Republican Party into a Likud cheerleading squad was the joint project of neoconservative intellectuals and evangelical Christians, with a few right-wing pro-Israel donors happy to foot the bill. The neocons pretended to speak for American Jews but took positions at odds with those actually held by most American Jews.”

How Bibi Could Win the Vote and Lose the Election, Foreign Policy
Joshua Mitnick writes, “While most polls predict his right-wing Likud party will draw the most votes in the election, the second in six months, political analysts point to at least three scenarios in which Netanyahu could find himself winning the vote but losing the premiership.”

Gazan’s death abroad shines light on middle-class exodus, AP
Fares Akram and Mohammed Daraghmeh write, “Fed up with the heavy-handed rule of Hamas, al-Sultan braved a treacherous journey in hopes of starting a new life in the West — only to die along the way. His death has drawn attention to the growing exodus of middle-class Gazans who can no longer bear to live in the isolated coastal territory.”