US President Donald Trump yesterday announced that the time has come to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Trump’s decision reverses 52 years of US policy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been arguing that, at a time when Iran is trying to set up a permanent military presence in Syria, holding the Golan is critical for Israel’s security and to thwart Iran’s designs. The decision is expected to be widely in condemned. The European Union today stated it will not follow Trump's lead.
In a deadly terror attack in the West Bank on Sunday, a Palestinian killed Israeli soldier Sgt. Gal Keida, and critically wounded Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, who later died of his wounds. The terrorist, who fled after carrying out the attack, later shot and critically injured another Israeli soldier, Alexander Dvorsky, whose condition has since improved. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for not condemning the attack. The suspected gunman, Omar Abu-Lila, was later killed by the IDF in a shootout in the West Bank.
Hamas has arrested dozens and left many with serious injuries as its riot police crack down against protests against the group in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets to protest the high cost of living and the disastrous economic situation inside Gaza. Hamas police attacked and beat unarmed demonstrators in addition to reporters. Seventeen journalists have been arrested, ten released, and four required hospital treatment. Sporadic protests against Hamas have happened in recent years but this week’s demonstrations are the most sustained unrest since 2007.
Israel's High Court of Justice barred the leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party Michael Ben Ari from running in the upcoming elections. He was disqualified over his anti-Arab ideology. Otzma Yehudit supports expelling Palestinians and Arab Israelis who refuse to declare loyalty to Israel and accept diminished status in an expanded Jewish state, whose sovereignty extends throughout the West Bank. Read our local JCRC's condemnation of Otzma here.
Political representatives in Germany’s Bundestag overwhelmingly rejected a resolution by the Free Democratic Party to urge Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to reverse its anti-Israel voting record at the United Nations. From a total of 626 MPs participating, a disturbing 408 voted to reject the pro-Israel resolution while 155 urged its acceptance. A total of 63 MPs abstained. The depth of anti-Israelism in the Bundestag sparked criticism from a tiny number of German politicians and journalists.
The UK government has confirmed it will oppose all four UN Human Rights Council resolutions against Israel under Item 7 this week, which is devoted to discussing abuses in the West Bank and Gaza. The Jewish state is the only country to be subject to a such a permanent item of condemnation and the foreign office of Boris Johnson threatened last year to vote against all motions if the bias persisted. In a Jewish Leadership Council-led meeting, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed he would press for the abolition of the notorious segment, saying it continued to undermine the UN's credibility.
Interested in Israel's upcoming elections? Register for the Jewish Federations of North America's and Jewish Council for Public Affairs' joint pre-election briefing on April 2 and post-election briefing on April 10.
Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC
Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati
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