Israel Beset by Bitter Internal Disputes

ICEJ News Briefs

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11 Nov 2019
Israel Beset by Bitter Internal Disputes
Amidst the ongoing uncertainty over the formation of a unity governing coalition in the Knesset, ceremonies were held Sunday to commemorate the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Members of Rabin’s family, as well as Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and other leaders of Leftist parties, used part of the time given to their remarks at these ceremonies to accuse incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of fueling the kind of incitement which led to Rabin’s assassination, prompting Netanyahu to use his own remarks to defend himself. The exchanges at the Knesset ceremony came despite a clear warning at the outset from Speaker Yuli Edelstein to desist from such expressions as well as similar pleas from President Reuven Rivlin in recent days.

In related news, a clash broke out on Sunday evening between police and demonstrators at the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, prompted by the police arresting a resident who had violated an administrative order issued to him earlier by the security forces. The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement regarding the incident, calling for “the law to be respected and for an immediate halt to violence against the security forces. IDF soldiers and Border Police forces, which guard us all, must be allowed to carry out their work. Violations of the law will not be tolerated.”

Government Deadlock Continues in Lebanon
Israel’s northern neighbor of Lebanon appeared to be teetering on the brink of economic, political and social collapse on Sunday, with some analysts warning that the Iranian-backed Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah was poised to become the de facto ruler of the country owing to its being the most organized player left in the arena. Efforts at political stabilization have failed, even as street protests against the nascent status quo have continued in many cities and the banks have struggled to manage amidst a virtual standstill in almost all sectors of the economy. "The country's situation cannot withstand another day of delays," Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai said.

Here is a video giving some expert analysis of the situation in Lebanon

Case Against Netanyahu Takes Dramatic Turn
There was a dramatic development in the ongoing case against incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, with Nir Hefetz, a former close aide who has turned State’s Witness against Netanyahu in “Case 4000” yelling at the judges hearing arguments over the advisability of lifting a gag order on his involvement in the case “you can just kill me” before storming out. The hearing at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court attracted a great deal of media attention following recently leaked allegations that the police used improper interrogation techniques to compel Hefetz to cooperate in the case against Netanyahu.

Bennet Set to Become New Defense Minister
Former Education Minister Naftali Bennet accepted an appointment as Defense Minister in the caretaker government over the weekend and is set to assume his new responsibilities on Tuesday. Starting Sunday morning he began holding meetings with advisors in order to prepare for his new job.

Regional Arms Race Heating Up
Long one of the world’s most heavily armed regions, the Middle East is experiencing yet another ramp up in arms purchases. In a recent example, the U.S. State Department gave its approval last Thursday to a request by the United Arab Emirates to purchase 10 CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters and related equipment from Boeing, bringing the total value of such requests by the UAE since the start of fiscal 2017 to nearly $10.5 billion. Other US and European defense companies have also announced large orders from Middle Eastern countries in recent weeks.

Today’s video gives a short tour of modern Nazareth