The Washington Post professes concern about Israel’s peace deal

Featured image Israel’s peace agreement with the UAE and Bahrain, signed yesterday at the White House, is historic. It hasn’t happened before, nor has Israel entered into such a deal since 1994 (with Jordan). The extent to which the deal is historically significant can be debated (but won’t be in this post). However, for those who wish Israel well (and who don’t have an ax to grind with Donald Trump or Benjamin »

Harvard Hires PLO Executive to Mentor Students

Featured image The Clarion Project reports that Harvard University has selected Saeb Erekat — who serves as secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) — to be a fellow at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Erekat’s duties will include mentoring students and giving seminars in the school’s “The Future of Diplomacy Project.” Erekat is rabidly anti-Israel, as one would expect from a »

A skeptical note on Israel’s deal with the UAE

Featured image In a deal brokered by the Trump administration, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to normalize relations. In exchange for normalized relations, Israel agreed to suspend its West Bank annexation plans. The two sentences above point to an obvious problem with the deal. Normalized relations between two states are normal, and usually benefit both states. Why should one — and only one — of the two states have »

A Win In the Middle East

Featured image Today the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates jointly announced an agreement whereby Israel and the UAE have fully normalized their relationship. President Trump tweeted: Joint Statement of the United States, the State of Israel, and the United Arab Emirates — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2020 The communique paints an optimistic picture: Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming »

Israel strikes Syrian targets in response to attempted terrorism

Featured image The Israeli military carried out airstrikes against Syrian targets Monday night. The strikes were a response to an attempted terrorist attack that was thwarted along the Syrian border on Sunday night. The thwarted attack consisted of four terrorists planting explosive devices inside Israel. IDF forces spotted them, opened fire, and thwarted the attack. Reportedly, all four terrorists were killed. Afterwards, the Israelis found weapons and a bag containing explosive devices »

The explosions rocking Iran

Featured image In the podcast below the Tikvah Fund’s Jonathan Silver interviews former IDF military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin on the explosions rocking Iran. At the least, Yadlin offers informed speculation on what is happening. I get the impression, however, that Yadlin knows a little bit more than he lets on. At one point, for example, he responds to Silver that he’d prefer not to address operational issues. Tikvah introduces the podcast »

Will Iran retaliate for attacks on its nuclear facilities?

Featured image We’ve written about the explosions and fires at various facilities associated with Iran’s nuclear program, though perhaps we haven’t given them as much attention as they deserve. The attacks are believed to be the work of Israel. At a minimum, Israel is thought to be behind the most significant explosion — a July 2 attack on the Natanz centrifuge facility. This attack may have set back Iran’s breakout time for »

Israel hit by second coronavirus wave

Featured image Israel has done extraordinarily well in preventing the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. It reports only 37 deaths per one million people (342 deaths in total). By way of comparison, the U.S. reports 405 deaths per million. Only Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii report fewer deaths per million than Israel. Israel’s success is probably due to the stringent measures it took early on to keep the virus from spreading. They »

The stage is set for Israel to annex part of West Bank

Featured image Over the weekend, Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in for another stint as Israel’s prime minister. This time, he’s the head of a coalition government and, if the agreement he struck with the opposition holds, will serve for only 18 months. Netanyahu doesn’t want to waste them. His next big initiative will be the annexation of portions of the West Bank. Netanyahu wants to get this done before the U.S. presidential »

The Wuhan coronavirus in Israel

Featured image So far, Israel has come through the coronavirus scare in comparatively good shape. As of yesterday, May 9, only 252 deaths had been attributed to the virus. That’s 29 per 1 million people. The number of new reported cases has declined from a peak of around 750 per day at the beginning of April to around 50. The daily death count is down from a peak of around a dozen »

Coronavirus In Two Countries

Featured image A new demographic forecast for Israel projects continuing rapid population growth over the next 20 years, compared with most developed countries. The linked news story on the report is interesting in several respects, but I want to focus on the demographer’s answer to a question about COVID-19: Regarding the coronavirus outbreak, Weinreb said the pandemic was unlikely to have a large effect on mortality rates or life expectancy. “Remember, every »

Israel will have a “unity government”

Featured image Israel will avoid having to hold its fourth national election in a little more than a year. The Likud party and the Blue and White party have signed an agreement that ends the stalemate in Israeli electoral politics. The two parties will form a coalition government. Current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will remain as PM for 18 months. After that, if all goes according to the plan, Blue and White »

In Israel, a surprise government

Featured image In a logical and therefore surprising conclusion to Israel’s long-standing political paralysis, Benny Gantz has agreed to form a unity government with current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As I understand the status of the agreement, the details are being worked out and the parties to the agreement have yet to sign on the dotted line. This JNS report by Dov Lipman relates details and wrinkles. Here is Lipman’s opening: After »

Pence does AIPAC

Featured image Vice President Pence addressed AIPAC’s annual policy conference in Washington yesterday. I have posted the video below. The White House has posted the text of Pence’s speech here. The depth of the Trump administration’s support for Israel, as faithfully recounted by Pence, is astonishing. It is hard to believe that any other of the 2016 Republican contenders would have had the audacity to do all that Trump has done. As »

Breaking: Netanyahu Projected to Win Israel’s Election Today

Featured image The Jerusalem Post is reporting right now that with the polls closed and exit poll results dribbling out, Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners are on course to form a government: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded in winning 60 seats for his bloc of right-wing and religious parties, one less than he needed for a majority in the Knesset in Monday’s election, according to exit polls on the three television »

Netanyahu Unbound

Featured image Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political life, trying to fend off bogus charges of “corruption” that have been concocted by his political enemies–a group that includes, unfortunately, most of Israel’s political class. Earlier tonight he delivered a remarkable campaign speech that included a blunt assessment of Israel’s recent past and its relationship with the United States. I am tempted to reproduce the whole thing, as reported by »

Netanyahu’s “Merry Christmas”

Featured image This year Benjamin Netanyahu became the longest serving prime minister in Israel’s history. He is not only able to distinguish between Israel’s friends and its enemies, he has expanded its circle of friends (and allies of convenience) in surprising ways. In the tweet below he conveys his annual Christmas wishes to Israel’s Christian friends around the world. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Merry Christmas to all our Christian friends in Israel »