Israel News Roundup: Netanyahu to Meet Mark Esper and Boris Johnson in London

  • Netanyahu is worried about America backing down on their sanctions on Iran.
  • Turkey wants nuclear weapons.
  • Netanyahu may not be the next Israeli prime minister.

There is controversy today over a potential meeting between Hassan Rouhani of Iran and President Donald Trump. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented about this potential meeting saying he cannot tell the American president who he can or cannot meet, but the two are in agreement about the issue of the Iran Nuclear deal. In the meantime Iran will announce nuclear steps on Saturday. They have stated that they are poised for faster nuclear centrifuges which will mean the collapse of the nuclear deal. Europe is still trying to save the deal with a French proposal offering a $15 billion line of credit. Netanyahu is meeting with US secretary of defense Mark Esper and Boris Johnson in London concerning the nuclear deal.

Hezbollah was founded in the early 1980s as part of an Iranian effort to aggregate a variety of militant Lebanese Shia groups into a unified organization. Hezbollah acts as a proxy for Iran in the ongoing Iran–Israel proxy conflict.

Trump’s peace convoy led by Jason Greenblatt is set to leave the White House ready to bring a plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Greenblatt, Trump’s former business lawyer was appointed to devise the long awaited peace plan. The White House says the peace plan is completed but will not be released until after the Israel elections.

Israel Katz, former minister of transportation from Likud and Israel Minister of Foreign affairs said he sticks with Netanyahu as Prime Minister and lends his support for US Israel defense alliance in a fight against Iranian missile enterprise and nuclear ambitions. He stated that Likud will not allow the ultra-orthodox to turn the state into a Biblical government. As minister of transportation he met with a confrontation with Orthodox government members over allowing work to be done in building the railroad on the Sabbath. He felt the work was crucial. The Orthodox blocked his efforts to complete the work of building the railroad, and he left his position as Transportation minister. Netanyahu appointed in his place a Betzalel Smotrich a supporter of strict Sabbath regulations who has made controversial remarks which were not acceptable to Netanyahu.

Israel confirmed this week that they are continuing to strike targets in Syria to prevent Iranian precision missiles from reaching Lebanon and Syria.

Through a close shave Israel avoided a war with Hezbollah by playing a game that their soldiers had been injured and taken away in a helicopter. There were no injuries but if there were injuries the confrontation would have lasted several days and people in the north would have had to go into bomb shelters. The problem is that in the North the houses were built without bomb shelters.  Israel is working to appease Hassan Nasrallah to prevent a future confrontation but Nasrallah seems to be serious. Hezbollah is only one faction in Lebanon representing the Shiite population. Nasrallah has declared no more red lines. A news report came out that Hezbollah is facing opposition and criticism in Lebanon over their actions.

Likud (The Consolidation), officially the Likud-National Liberal Movement, is a centre-right to right-wing political party in Israel. A secular party, it was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon in an alliance with several right-wing parties. Likud’s landslide victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country’s political history, marking the first time the left had lost power. In addition, it was the first time in Israel that a right-wing party won the plurality of the votes. However, after ruling the country for most of the 1980s, the party lost the Knesset election in 1992. Nevertheless, Likud’s candidate Benjamin Netanyahu did win the vote for Prime Minister in 1996 and was given the task of forming a government after the 1996 elections. Netanyahu’s government fell apart after a vote of no confidence, which led to elections being called in 1999 and Likud losing power to the One Israel coalition led by Ehud Barak.

Netanyahyu and Likud are struggling to gather more support under the pressure of the left wing parties Blue-White, Gesher, Meretz and Beit Yehudi of Avigdor Lieberman. The right has several parties which are running separately that Likud wants to unite with them so that they can gather enough votes to hold the Prime Minister position. In the last elections Benny Gantz and Netanyahu had an equal number of mandates which made it difficult to make a new government.

MiKI Zohar appealed to the far right party called Noam to leave the race.  Two of their representatives were recently disqualified for statements made by them that the courts considered illegal. Statistics show that Noam may be able to get one mandate. Noam is an anti-gay party. Likud is neutral in the issue of gays and has even some representatives which may be gay. Likud could lose votes to Noam and also to Avigdor Leiberman the Russian Israeli representative over the Gay issue.

The Right Zionist religious party led by Ayelet Shaked contains a variety of religious Zionist factions more liberal and more conservative. She replaced Avi Peretz to lead the party to the elections because he had made statement condemning gays. Likud convinced Moshe Feiglin of the Zehut party to join Likud.  Feiglin requested legalization of Marijuana as one of his requests. The problem of diversity of parties is that if these parties do not get a mandate all their votes will go to the party with the most mandates which could be Blue-White so right voters will have surrendered their votes to the left side by mistake.

Benny Gantz, the head of Blue-White and the possible next prime minister, said that before there will be a withdrawal from the territories he will make a referendum.  There will not be a repeat performance of the 2005 Gaza Withdrawal. He made a statement that he will have no problem to exclude the Ultra Orthodox religious parties from his new government. He was attacked by them for making this statement.

The Palestinian authority plans to invest millions for agricultural independence. This is in an effort to disengage from the Israeli economy. In Qualkilya, an Arab city located near the Israel city Kfar Saba, they announced a $23 agricultural cluster program.

Prime Minister Netanyahu visited the city of Hebron the first time in over twenty years. With him were also officials from Likud and Reuven Rivlin the President. Ayalet Shaked, called by the news media the most powerful woman in Israel politics, declared that now is the time to build a new neighborhood in Hebron. Ayelet Shaked is heading the Right religious Zionist party.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan made a statement that it is unacceptable for Turkey not to have nuclear weapons when Israel his neighbor is using its nuclear power to torment countries around it. His country should be granted the same protection as Israel.

Israel received FDA approval for a new drug to shrink tumors with cancer. It is the first drug to prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites.

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