In a surreal ceremony, Israel’s 23rd Knesset convened on Monday in the shadow of the COVID-19 outbreak. To avoid the spread of the virus, Israel’s 120 lawmakers were inducted in batches of three. Their usual festive opening remarks were given in an empty hall.
President Reuven Rivlin opened this year’s swearing-in with an address to the only three lawmakers present: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
Rivlin implored the political parties to resolve their differences and form a coalition, putting an end to the deadlock that has left the country without a functioning government since December 2018.
In surreal scenes, Knesset sworn in 3 members at a time amid virus crisis by TOI Staff. Times of Israel – March 16, 2020
We think The Struggle for Israel’s Jewish Soul is is an excellent article in response to Benny Gantz being given the mandate to form a government. We urge everyone to read it carefully. This should also serve as a refresher course for every Israeli politician supporting President Reuven Rivlin’s recent decision.
The article’s summary: The possibility of an Israeli minority government that relies on the Joint Arab List underscores the clear and present danger of accommodating political parties and movements that reject the existence of the Jewish state and propagate Israel’s transformation into a Palestinian Arab (Muslim) state.
Pictured here is Ayman Odeh, an Israeli Arab lawyer and politician. The leader of the Hadash party, he is currently a member of the Knesset and head of the Joint List alliance. If Gantz is successful in forming a coalition, these are the kinds of photos you’ll be seeing more of in our newsletters.
The Struggle for Israel’s Jewish Soul by Prof. Efraim Karsh and Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen. The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies – March 16, 2020
A 14 year-old boy from Yitzhar, the son of a family AFSI is very close to, was brutally attacked Tuesday night near Hawara. A terrorist, who has since been apprehended, hurled a large rock at his head.
The boy was taken by Magen David Adom to the hospital, where after suffering seizures, he fell unconscious and was put on a respirator. The next day he was taken into surgery, his entire forehead was opened, the top part of his skull was removed, reconnected, glued to a metal plate and then closed back up. We are happy to report that successful surgery was performed and his condition has significantly improved overnight. Despite his horrific ordeal, he is out of danger.
Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan said: “This is a very serious incident. It is an anti-Semitic attempted murder, and a nationalist event by all counts. I spoke with the injured boy’s father and received an update on his condition, and I call on the public to pray for the youth’s recovery.”
AFSI Chizuk Missions have visited with the family many times over the years. We ask everyone to continue to pray for a refuah shlema – a speedy recovery – for Tzadok Aryeh Ben Ayelet HaShachar, צדוק אריה בן אילת השחר.
Condition of boy attacked over Purim improves by Mordechai Sones. Arutz Sheva – March 12, 2020
Yemina party leader Ayelet Shaked slammed Blue and White’s recent decision to form a minority government with outside support of the Joint Arab List.
“The very fact that they are seeking to form such a government is a sign of their moral bankruptcy,” Shaked told 103 FM on Tuesday. “Most of the MKs of the Joint Arab List don’t believe that Israel should be a Jewish and democratic state.”
Shaked is right when she says that the large parties need to come to their senses for the greater good of the Israeli people.
Ayelet Shaked Blasts Blue & White Decision to Team Up with Arab Parties by Aaron Sull. Jewish Voice – March 13, 2020
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi’s recent comments on the coronavirus are nothing more than a desperate attempt to delegitimize Israel. On Wednesday she accused Israel of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to “annex Palestinian occupied territories.”
The statement was released following Defense Minister Naftali Bennett remarks that he plans to promote paving a road between the E1 area and Jerusalem, which he called the “road of Sovereignty” project.
PA official: Israel exploiting coronavirus to promote annexation by Israel Hayom Staff. Israel Hayom – March 12, 2020
El Oskopia, an Episcopal Catholic High School, which receives government funding, was selected three years ago as one of Israel’s most outstanding schools.
This week in the Israeli-Arab city of Shfar’am the school held a “Heritage Day for the Palestinian People” that wiped Israel off the map.
The event celebrated cultural heritage, including a mock “Palestinian wedding” and culinary traditions. There were also Palestinian flags on the walls and maps of “Palestine” in place of Israel.
Zionist watchdog Im Tirtzu called on the Education Ministry to take immediate action.
“It is inconceivable that an Israeli high school under the supervision of the Education Ministry is brainwashing its students into thinking that they are Palestinians and must hate Israel,” said Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg.
Christian Israeli-Arab high school holds ‘Palestine Day,’ wipes Israel off map by Paul Shindman. World Israel News – March 12, 2020
Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser are members of Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem’s party that makes up Blue & White along with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Benny Gantz’s The Israel Resilience Party. Ya’alon met with the two MKs on Sunday in an attempt to persuade them to back the minority government but apparently to no avail.
Sources in the Blue & White said the party has a two-step plan in an effort to avoid the fourth elections. It consists of an initial phase of forming a minority coalition with Labor-Gesher-Meretz and Yisrael Beytenu, with outside support by Joint List and a second phase. Assuming that a minority government is formed, members of various right-wing parties would be willing to join the coalition.
So, what’s really going on? The outcome of these elections are still a maze of confusion. Different possible combinations continue to emerge. We pray for a Purim miracle and the formation of a sound and effective government that will protect Sovereignty, safety and truth for all Israel.
Top Blue & White MKs oppose Arab-backed government by Moran Azulay, Yuval Karni, Tova Tzimuki. YNet News – March 9, 2020
Gantz’s Path to Israeli Minority Gov’t Littered with Obstacles by Charles Bybelezer. MediaLine – March 9. 2020
Israel’s Defense Ministry has green-lighted planning for what it called a “Sovereignty road” that would allow Palestinian traffic to bypass Jewish neighborhoods in the E1 area.
“We’re applying Sovereignty in deeds, not words,” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday.
As part of his re-election campaign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month agreed to advance plans for 3,500 new homes in an unbuilt area of the Ma’aleh Adumim area, known as E1.
Israel advances plans for West Bank ‘sovereignty road’ to bypass E1 area, by Tovah Lazaroff. Jerusalem Post – March 9, 2020
I plead with everyone on our campus to be careful and vigilant against legitimate debate turning into anger, then to hatred and demonization, and invidious discrimination.
I can say that Jewish students are feeling this, and it’s wrong. I feel it, and it’s wrong. We all feel it, and it’s wrong. ~Lee C. Bolinger
While Americans For A Safe Israel deeply appreciates President Bollinger issuing this statement, it is not enough! What about the professors employed at Columbia who spew vile hatred about Israel in their evil attempt to indoctrinate students? Why are they still on payroll? We know that American college campuses are a hot bed for anti-Semitism thanks to one too many a professor teaching false narratives about Israel. President Bollinger, the problem is much deeper and must be rooted out at its source. Do you recognize this and what action will you take to remedy it?
Source and Full Statement:
President Bollinger Condemns Anti-Semitism in a Statement Before the Senate Plenary. Official statemtent from the office of Lee C. Bollinger. March 6, 2020
Americans For A Safe Israel congratulates Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his election win on Monday evening.
Netanyahu immediately convened his bloc of right-wing parties on Tuesday to celebrate his victory in Monday’s election. The process of forming a new governing coalition has begun.
The MKs decided that they would continue to coordinate as one bloc under Netanyahu’s leadership in order to form a right-wing government as soon as possible. They also decided to not rule out adding other parties except the Joint List.
“The country had its say,” a Likud spokesman said. “The people want a nationalist government under Netanyahu.”
Final election results as of today: Likud 36, Blue and White 33. Right-wing bloc receives 58 seats, left-wing bloc and Arabs a combined 55 seats after final votes counted.
Netanyahu begins effort to form new coalition, by Gil Hoffman. Jerusalem Post – March 3, 2020