Archive for March 3, 2020

Netanyahu claims election victory, while Syria battles intensify – TV7 Israel News 03.03.20 

March 3, 2020

 

 

Netanyahu’s victory is an indictment of his indictment – Analysis

March 3, 2020

Source: Netanyahu’s victory is an indictment of his indictment – Analysis – The Jerusalem Po

The silver lining for Netanyahu of not having an immunity request on the Knesset’s docket was that long debates on his status would not be at the top of the news in the weeks before an election.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as he delivers a statement during his visit at the Health Ministry national hotline, in Kiryat Malachi, Israel March 1, 2020 (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as he delivers a statement during his visit at the Health Ministry national hotline, in Kiryat Malachi, Israel March 1, 2020
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
It has been a persistent political meme since the end of 2016, when it was first brought to light that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was under investigation for alleged corruption offenses, that the end of his political career was imminent.

Yet, three years, three investigations and three indictments, including one bribery charge, later, and Netanyahu is still living on Balfour Street in Jerusalem and will probably start negotiations to form his fifth – fourth consecutive – government. The indictment did not seem to be on voters’ minds, and if it was, then they didn’t care enough about it to abandon Netanyahu.

Five weeks ago, Netanyahu went to Washington for US President Donald Trump’s presentation of his peace plan. On that trip, Netanyahu withdrew his request to the Knesset to grant him immunity, because he seemed unlikely to win. Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit submitted Netanyahu’s indictment on the same day that Trump announced his “Peace to Prosperity” plan.

The silver lining for Netanyahu of not having an immunity request on the Knesset’s docket was that long debates on his status would not be at the top of the news in the weeks before an election.

But an indictment for a sitting prime minister was unprecedented; one could easily think it would have hurt him electorally.

The polls remained steady. It’s possible that an indictment dip and a peace plan bump canceled each other out. But what is more likely, judging from polls in February 2019, after Mandelblit first recommended that Netanyahu be indicted, and the election six weeks later, is that no one’s mind was changed when Netanyahu was officially charged in 2020, just like they didn’t care last year.

Beyond Knesset polls, Netanyahu led in just about every survey that asked who is most appropriate candidate for prime minister In the past year and a half.

Why didn’t Netanyahu’s legal woes make a dent?

First of all, the corruption allegations had been in the news for three years at that point. The public had a long time to make up its mind, and Mandelblit filing some paperwork clearly didn’t make a difference.

Second, and this is what’s most important, is that plenty of people don’t care enough about the indictment to not vote for the religious-Right bloc.

There certainly are people who think Netanyahu may be guilty, but are willing to overlook that. Some of these people adore Netanyahu anyway and want him to stick around. Some of these people think Netanyahu should resign at let someone else lead the Right, whether it be Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar who ran against him in Likud’s primary last year, or Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein or former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat any other number of Likudniks and other right-wing politicians who think they should be Netanyahu’s heir.

But there’s also a growing element of distrust in the Israeli legal system. The Right has been critical of the judiciary for over a decade, with bills trying to fight the self-selecting system of appointing new Supreme Court justices, which the Right has long argued only brought in left-wing activist judges. This extended to criticism of the system of legal advisers to ministries, who blocked government policies with arguments that they would be shot down by the Supreme Court.

Netanyahu came to these positions reluctantly, but they grew popular enough in his base that he supported his MKs and ministers who worked to promote them. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked made deals with the Bar Association leading to conservative judges being confirmed. Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis argued his own positions before the Supreme Court when his ministry’s legal adviser wouldn’t support them. Right-wing parties have sought to make a bill to allow the Knesset to override the Supreme Court cancelation of laws a part of the next coalition agreement.

These views are completely legitimate. But they also primed Netanyahu supporters to disregard anything coming from the legal system. Some have a nuanced legal analysis of the weaker points of The State of Israel vs. Benjamin Netanyahu. Others espouse conspiracy theories about a “State Attorney’s Office inside the State Attorney’s Office” or as pro-Netanyahu pundit Erel Segal calls it, the “deep shtetl,” a Jewish state takeoff on the “deep state” – but no matter what name they give it, the idea is that a powerful cabal within the Justice Ministry wants Netanyahu out.

As these lines are written, we don’t know if a large plurality or a slight majority of voters backed parties in Netanyahu’s camp. Either way it seems that he will have a path to build another government, because enough people found reasons to vote for Likud or parties supporting him that are a higher priority than having a prime minister who’s not under indictment.

They may note the fact that Israel just had the most peaceful decade in its history and see the state of Israel’s economy and growing ties with the world and say they want to continue the policies and type of leadership that made it that way. They may want Israel to apply its laws to the Jordan Valley and towns in Judea and Samaria. They may be ideologically right-wing on a number of issues and will always vote for the Right no matter who leads it.

No matter what views these right-wing voters hold on Netanyahu’s legal troubles – that they are unfounded or valid – they still thought he was the better choice for prime minister over Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. In a way, this vote was an indictment of Netanyahu’s indictment and everyone who stands behind it.

 

Iran’s Government Is In CHAOS As Politicians Die Of Coronavirus, Has The Flu Ever Done This? 

March 3, 2020

 

 

 

10th annual US-Israel Juniper Cobra joint exercise kicks off 

March 3, 2020

Source: 10th annual US-Israel Juniper Cobra joint exercise kicks off – The Jerusalem Post

Another joint American-IDF drill cancelled over fears of the coronavirus; Homefront Command holds missile barrage drill in schools across the country

Large-scale missile defense drill comes amid spike in tensions between Israel and her enemies; Homefront Command holds missile barrage drill in schools across the country (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Large-scale missile defense drill comes amid spike in tensions between Israel and her enemies; Homefront Command holds missile barrage drill in schools across the country
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)
The 10th annual Juniper Cobra exercise between the IDF and the United States Europe Command (EUCOM) began on Tuesday, with hundreds of US troops landing in Israel to take part.

The drill will take place between March 3rd and March 13th, will be the largest IDF and USEUCOM joint exercise taking place this year with over 2,500 US troops participating in several different locations- in Israel, Europe and the United States. Some 600 US troops, who arrived in Israel in recent weeks, will be training in Israel alongside 1,000 Israeli Aerial Defense troops, logistics units, medical forces, and additional IDF units.

“The objectives of the exercise are to strengthen cooperation, coordination and mutual learning between the two armies, as well as to improve the capability to defend against missile threats, and joint air defense,” the IDF said in a statement.

The exercise will simulate a scenario in which American forces will be deployed to Israel in order to work alongside the IDF’s air defense force. The troops will practice possible scenarios of missile threats in various sectors, and the simulations will include the use of the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 missile defense system, an advanced version of the Iron Dome, David Sling system as well as a ballistic image management center, in collaboration with the Home Front Command.

While the 600 American troops were deployed to Israel as part of Juniper Cobra, the US military and IDF called off a joint exercise over concerns of the new coronavirus.

The “Eagle Genesis” exercise between the IDF’s Ground Forces and EUCOM troops to train against regional threats, was cancelled and over 60 US personnel who had travelled to Israel returned to their bases on Friday at the request of the Israeli government.

A US military official told CNN that the drill was cancelled “out of an abundance of caution” despite none of the American troops, including paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed in Italy had been reported ill.

Israel’s Health Ministry has included Italy on the list of countries from which people arriving in the country must be quarantined.

Also on Tuesday the Homefront Command in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and local authorities held a security drill simulating a missile attack at schools around the country.

As part of the drill, which examined the competence and maintenance of the institution’s bomb shelter, all students practiced getting into protected spaces during recess time (10.05 in the morning).

The military said that they would publish the results of the leading regional authorities and schools in the field of emergency preparedness.

While the military contends that the drills are part of scheduled exercises and are not related to the high tensions with Iran on Israel’s northern border, an Israeli intelligence assessment found that the threat posed by Iran- including its nuclear and ballistic missile program- is the number one priority for the IDF.

Iran, which possesses over 1,000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, is suspected of continuing to smuggling weapons to countries and non-state actors such as Hezbollah which is assessed to have an arsenal of between some 100,000 and 150,000 missiles on Israel’s northern border and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Washington and Israel have signed an agreement which would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war and in March, EUCOM deployed a THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system in Israel as part of a month-long joint drill between the two allies

During the drill the THAAD system, which is considered one of the most advanced systems of its kind in the world, was added to the existing Israeli air defense systems which defend against long-range ballistic missiles, giving the IDF an opportunity to practice it’s integration in the IAF’s Air Defense Array.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Declares #IsraElex2020 Victory ‘Against All Expectations’ 

March 3, 2020