Photo Credit: Jewish Press

This week was all about internal political drama in Israel. It was like a movie – everyone knew how it would end, just weren’t sure how we would get there. We got there, and it wasn’t so exciting. We’ll save the exciting parts for later in the update.

Coalition Crisis Postponed – For Now

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It came down to the last minute, but it was all just theatrics. There continues to be real tension between coalition partner parties Likud and Blue and White. Most recently they were fighting over whether to postpone a vote on a one-year or two-year budget and on the process for political appointments.

In the end, both sides agreed to push off the budget decision for another 120 days and to compromise on establishing a committee for political appointments. Especially mean – even by Israeli political standards – exchanges took place between members of the two parties and it’s hard to see how they will work together on pretty much anything going forward.

Each side was already blaming each other for almost causing another round of elections. The opposition parties loved the whole spectacle. There does remain the real possibility that elections will be called 120 days from now, but that’s already after the U.S. Presidential election and would also be getting real close to the start of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s scheduled trial in January.

A lot can happen between now and then, so who knows.

More Peace in the Middle East?

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel on Monday for meetings with Israeli leaders. On Tuesday he took the first ever flight from Ben Gurion Airport straight to Sudan.

After the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was announced, it was rumored that other Muslim countries were on the brink of following suit. That hasn’t happened yet. One of the countries reported to be considering similar arrangements is Sudan.

So far no further major breakthrough has been reached, but clearly there is interest on the part of Sudan, Bahrain, Oman, and possibly Morocco. I saw a report of an “expert” from France saying that Pompeo messed up in Sudan.

The only thing the French are “expert” in is surrendering, so I suppose Pompeo’s failure to surrender to Sudan is seen by him as a failure. The ball has clearly started rolling. That’s not a guarantee, but it would be prudent to give the Trump Administration diplomacy a chance. France might not like it, but they are doing pretty well.

Some have suggested that the relations between Israel and UAE have already been strained by the UAE’s desire to purchase high quality weaponry from the U.S. It’s an issue that’s being negotiated. In the meantime, the head of the Mossad has already visited the UAE since the announcement, the business/high-tech world is buzzing, and the first commercial flight between the two countries is scheduled for next week.

Other leading U.S. officials, like Jared Kushner, will also be arriving in the UAE next week for further discussions. Sounds like any negativity being reported is likely more French expert analysis.

 

Corona in Israel

New coronavirus cases continue to be reported in Israel this week. However, the numbers are remaining steady. Would be better if they were going down faster, but alas.

Almost 900 people have died so far and currently about 400 people are seriously ill. The health care system is holding up pretty well. In the meantime, the guy appointed to lead the fight against corona is busy picking fights with the charedi community. Priorities, bro.

 

Bromance between Turkey and Hamas?

Just when you thought Turkey had gone too far – it goes even farther. After picking fights with various countries throughout the Mediterranean, Turkey hosted the leadership of Hamas this week.

Supposedly, Turkish leader Erodgan instructed Hamas to increase violent attacks on Israel. Not sure what that means, but if it’s anywhere near true, Israel’s response should be wild.

This is the same Erdogan that lashed out at the UAE for establishing relations with Israel while at the same time Turkey has had relations with Israel for years. Erdogan is a real piece of work. Like the Seth Rogen of world leaders.

Balloons from Gaza

Dozens of incendiary balloons continue to fly into Israel from Gaza on a daily basis. Nobody seems to care. How many balloon bombs flew over the border before the “disengagement” when Jews lived in Gaza? None.

The solution to stop the balloons continues to be quite elusive to those who refuse to use any part of their brain. Surprisingly, many people. Like Seth Rogen.

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Rabbi Ben Packer is the director of the Jerusalem Heritage House.