To demonstrate that a new chapter is about to be written in US-Israeli relations – a chapter different from the one written by the Barack Obama administration. President Trump might not feel obliged to deliver on all of his promises towards Israel (see his recent remarks on moving the US embassy to Jerusalem), but he does want to signal to Israel and to the world that the days of friction are over. At least for now.
Time and understanding. No surprises, no taking for granted Trump’s support for every move, no taking advantage of the early days of an administration that doesn’t yet know what it is doing. He also wants to know what’s really important for Israel (and why) and what issues can be negotiated.
The list is long, but it begins with something that both leaders want: a signal that the US and Israel are once again on the same page, and a signal that the US intends to go back to a no-daylight policy towards Israel. That is, to coordinate as many moves as possible and prevent a situation in which differences are aired in public. On principle, Trump is going to agree to this. But his character might be an obstacle to implementing it.
Geostrategic matters, starting with Iran. Israel would like to ensure that Iran does not get an opportunity to strengthen its hand further because of America’s lack of interest, commitment, or understanding of the situation. A delicate matter that needs to be discussed between the two leaders is Russia’s involvement in Syria and what it means for the US and Israel’s wish to see Iran contained. Netanyahu would like to present to Trump the opportunity that exists in bolstering the cooperation between Israel and the Sunni Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan) and the importance of this unofficial makeshift coalition for the containment, or even rolling back, of Iran.
Netanyahu is under no illusion that the agreement will be promptly abandoned by the US. So his hope is to see two possible developments: 1. A more robust policy by the US concerning issues that were not covered by the agreement (Iran’s support for terrorism, Iran’s missile program), 2. An intention to see the agreement extended beyond the 15 year period it currently covers, after which Iran is pretty much free to become a military nuclear power.
The peace process – or the relations with the Palestinians – is not high on Netanyahu’s agenda. But it will surely be discussed. Netanyahu is going to argue that a better approach to this issue is looking at it from a regional perspective – namely, as one of the things that a more robust alliance involving Israel and the Arab states, and supported by the US, can deal with. The Palestinians need Arab support, without which they are not likely to make any significant move towards peace. Israel needs to see a benefit in negotiation beyond being nice to the Palestinians. If the Palestinian issue is one item of a broader Middle East peace agenda, that might work.
On settlements, and President and the Prime Minister can easily agree. If one carefully reads Trump’s language on this issue, one realizes that this President is ready to go back to an arrangement similar to the one agreed on in the Bush-Sharon letter. That is: Israel can build and develop the main settlement blocs, but can’t build new settlements. Such an understanding would benefit Netanyahu in two ways: 1. It will give him something tangible with which to demonstrate to Israelis that he achieved something. 2. It will give him a way of demonstrating that his more adult-like approach to dealing with the settlement issue bears more fruit than the confrontational approach advised by his critics on the right, especially by Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennet. For the president, this could be an easy way to demonstrate that 1. Trump is no Obama (whose administration did not accept that Bush-Sharon understanding as valid) and 2. That he takes a middle-of-the-road, pro-peace, and pro-Israel stance on this issue.
Sure. You might remember that the first Obama-Netanyahu meeting was quite contentious. So for Trump to have a positive first meeting with the Prime Minister is the easiest path to showing that things have indeed changed in US-Israel relations. For Netanyahu, it is essential to have a positive first meeting, as one thing is clear: getting on Trump’s wrong side is not a recommended policy.
This is Donald Trump. Surprises are no longer surprising.
Published in the LA Jewish Journal
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Sep 30, 2019 0Jeremy Hunt, the British Foreign secretary, has recently commissioned a report on the persecution of Christians, most acutely occurring in the Muslim World, and especially in the Arab/Muslim...
Sep 30, 2019 0
Sep 25, 2019 0
Aug 16, 2019 0
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.