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Israel's political arena holds breath as defense chief may announce resignation

Haaretz - 0 sec ago
Avigdor Lieberman and the cabinet have been sparring over Israel's actions in Gaza and the ultra-Orthodox draft bill

Israeli army arrests Palestinian throwing grenades near Gaza border

Haaretz - 0 sec ago
The IDF opened fire on the man and arrested him. The incident comes a day after Israel and the Palestinian factions agreed to a cease-fire following three days of hostilities

Netanyahu is willing to take a big risk for quiet on Gaza border

Haaretz - 5 hours 1 min ago
The decision to restore quiet allows Hamas leaders believe they can gradually raise the intensity of military action against Israel without paying much of a price

Trump to nominate retired army general as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Haaretz - 5 hours 33 min ago
As Washington faces pressure to handle the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump has nominated a former army general to be the country's ambassador, a spot that has been unfilled since 2017

Even a short war is a costly affair

Haaretz - 5 hours 50 min ago
Iron Dome missiles, tank shells and smart bombs don’t come cheap and the government is already contending with a swelling budget deficit

A country enveloped by Gaza

Haaretz - 6 hours 6 min ago
Israel's military escalation with Hamas wasn’t inevitable. It stemmed from an algorithm that triggers automatic responses by right-wing cabinet members

Civilians without protection

Haaretz - 7 hours 48 min ago
Too many residents of Israel's southern cities’ older neighborhoods live without a security room or a public shelter nearby– or with a shelter that cannot accommodate all the area’s residents

Why the Sultan of Oman invited Netanyahu

Haaretz - 8 hours 9 min ago
The sultan, who is not likely to pay a domestic price for the Netanyahu's visit, is trying to promote an arrangement that will cool off the Israeli-Palestinian crisis while keeping a distance

Poland’s centennial celebration was stained by fear and hatred

Haaretz - Tue, 2018-11-13 23:54
Behind the president and ordinary citizens marched thousands of nationalists carrying horrifying symbols in the largest public event since the fall of communism in 1989

Trump Honors Victims of Paris Terrorist Attacks in His Own Unique Way (by Trashing France) - Vanity Fair

9/11 News From Google News - Tue, 2018-11-13 23:53

Vanity Fair

Trump Honors Victims of Paris Terrorist Attacks in His Own Unique Way (by Trashing France)
Vanity Fair
(Kind of like how it would be considered poor form for Justin Trudeau to call America a bunch of a--holes on the anniversary of 9/11.) But Donald J. Trump is no such head of state! Instead, the president of the United States apparently woke up on ...

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Haaretz Cartoon

Haaretz - Tue, 2018-11-13 23:11

Victory or not, losing the Hasidim made the Jerusalem mayoral race tough for Moshe Leon

Haaretz - Tue, 2018-11-13 23:05
The Council of Torah Sages decided not to support either Leon or his secular rival Ofer Berkovitch, in effect freeing some 30,000 voters to make up their own minds

Israelis like their racism sweetened

Haaretz - Tue, 2018-11-13 22:49
Watching the jovial interview with Jewish terrorist Yitzhak Gabai aired on Channel 20 was like watching Israeli society caught with its pants down

Senior Israeli doctors protest Trump's aid cut to East Jerusalem hospitals

Haaretz - Tue, 2018-11-13 22:49
Eighteen senior Israeli doctors say sudden $20-million cut will significantly harm the health of Jerusalem's residents

Hundreds protest Gaza cease-fire in southern Israel, burn tires

Haaretz - Tue, 2018-11-13 22:38
'We've been abandoned for 18 years': Demonstrators block roads and confront police in Sderot, one of the main targets of Gaza rockets for well over a decade

How Netanyahu‘s cozy relationship with the Saudi crown prince could cost Israel

JTA - Tue, 2018-11-13 22:16

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel speaking at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 19, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Saudi Arabia is in hot water because its agents murdered a journalist, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the West not to throw away the kingdom’s prince.

It’s a major ask — one that could get Netanyahu and his nation in their own tepid tub.

The problem facing Israel was evident in a piece published Sunday in The Washington Post by Jackson Diehl, a columnist whom Israeli officials have in the past trusted to be fair and sensitive to the country’s concerns.

“Why is Israel tossing a lifeline to Jamal Khashoggi’s killers?” the headline read for an essay that ripped Netanyahu.

“The spectacle of an Israeli leader lobbying to excuse an Arab dictator for murder will only compound the damage he has done to his country’s relationship with the United States,” Diehl wrote.

Khashoggi, who was assassinated last month in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, voiced his dissent with the Saudi regime as a Washington Post columnist. Diehl, like others at the paper, would be more naturally inclined than others to express outrage at any attempt to whitewash the Saudi regime.

But Diehl’s warning was substantive: JTA has learned that Democrats in Congress — the party has just wrested control of the U.S. House of Representatives from the Republicans — are furious with Netanyahu for being among the few leaders to publicly defend the regime as evidence mounts that Khashoggi was killed on orders from above.

“What happened in the Istanbul consulate was horrendous and it should be duly dealt with,” Netanyahu said Nov. 2 at an event in Varna, Bulgaria. “Yet the same time I say it, it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remains stable.”

The question at the heart of the Khashoggi murder is whether the country’s effective ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, directly ordered the hit. The prince has denied it vehemently to President Donald Trump, who has tended to give bin Salman the benefit of the doubt. Middle East hands wonder how such a sophisticated assassination could have been carried out without bin Salman’s OK.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that one of the alleged hitmen instructed a superior to “tell your boss” that the job was done; the “boss” is assumed to be bin Salman.

Netanyahu’s investment in Saudi Arabia goes beyond the country’s stability. He is particularly close to bin Salman, as is Trump.

“I think the administration, when they know all the facts, are going to have to decide how can they on the one hand make clear that this action is unacceptable, but also not throw out the prince with the bathwater, let’s put it that way,” Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, perhaps Netanyahu’s closest adviser, said earlier this month at a synagogue event in Houston.

The key to understanding Netanyahu’s positioning is the enemy that Israel and the Saudis share: Iran.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Oct. 23, 2018. The summit was overshadowed by the killing of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

“It’s a tightrope act for Netanyahu right now,” Jonathan Schanzer, the vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said in an interview. “For him and for Israel, there is a question of who will fight Iran’s regional aggression other than Israel. The Saudis have assumed that role. They have the eastern flank of the Middle East, Israel has the west.”

Another factor is Netanyahu’s strategy of seeking broader acceptance in the Middle East absent substantive progress in any peace deal with the Palestinians, Schanzer said.

“This is an opportunity for him to publicly come out and not overtly state that there are ties between Israel and the Saudis, but certainly to imply it, and to show the Arab world Israel can be an ally,” he said.

The cost, said Aaron David Miller, a top Middle East negotiator under Republican and Democratic presidents, is to Israel’s reputation.

“The Israelis have to be very careful that they should not become MbS’s lawyer in Washington,” said Miller, using bin Salman’s nickname. Miller is now the vice president of The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

While Netanyahu and his predecessors naturally tended toward an interests-based foreign policy, Miller said, “It’s very bad for Israel’s image and credibility to be cavorting with a regime that is killing and murdering its dissenters on the streets of Arab capitals or European capitals.”

The immediate cost may be in how responsive the new Democratic House is to the pro-Israel agenda. In the immediate future, defense assistance will remain untouched, but Democrats would likely be less inclined to back the feel-good declarative statements that are often the bread and butter of pro-Israel lobbyists. That, in the long run, could erode overall support in the party for Israel.

An accelerant to the bad will among Democrats is that Netanyahu appears to be propping up Saudi Arabia as a means of pleasing Trump, who is the bete noir of the party and of liberals more than any other Republican leader.

“They’re looked at as if they’re coming out in support of a Trump ally,” said Schanzer.

The post How Netanyahu‘s cozy relationship with the Saudi crown prince could cost Israel appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Why Netanyahu will do almost anything for a Gaza cease-fire (and it has nothing to do with peace)

Haaretz - Tue, 2018-11-13 22:05
A cease-fire in Gaza fits in perfectly with Netanyahu's strategy: Bullying the Palestinians until they give up, then pushing them off the political agenda

Among The Treasures Of The Bund, Lessons For Today

The Forward - Tue, 2018-11-13 22:00
The r underground Jewish political party championed a broad progressive agenda, physically confronted pogroms and resisted the Holocaust.

Adolf Hitler’s ‘Sweetheart’ Was A 7-Year Old Jewish Girl

The Forward - Tue, 2018-11-13 21:51
He called her “sweetheart”; she called him “Uncle Hitler.”
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