Abraham Accord opens new doors; Tensions ramp up in Gaza: Israel Update


August 21, 2020


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The Israel-UAE peace deal, which promises to normalize relations between the two countries, has led to additional countries showing interest in striking their own peace deals with the Jewish state. On Saturday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun expressed willingness to consider peace talks with Israel, saying, “We have problems with Israel, and we have to resolve them first.” On Monday, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen indicated that Bahrain and Sudan will likely be first to follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead, noting: “Bahrain among the Gulf states and Sudan in Africa because there is already movement there.” Asked which countries might follow suit, Cohen hinted that Morocco, Oman, and Saudi Arabia could be next in line. He went onto say that last week's agreement “broke a taboo,” and as a result, he is hopeful it can serve as a beacon for other nations to follow.


Ministers on the coronavirus cabinet rejected coronavirus czar Professor Ronni Gamzu's proposed plan to curb the spread of COVID-19, as the country approaches 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Ministers from the religious parties claimed the plan targeted prayer gatherings, while cultural events were being allowed to proceed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walked out of the meeting, and ministers subsequently agreed to 

The Israel Defense Forces struck multiple Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip this week amid ongoing attacks on southern Israel in recent days. The 12 rockets fired into Israel mark a major escalation of violence, even as tensions have ramped up over the past several weeks with sporadic rocket fire and hundreds of balloons carrying incendiary devices being launched toward Israel, drawing near daily Israeli reprisal fire.  


After last week's historic peace accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the two countries are disagreeing over whether the UAE can buy F-35 stealth fighter jets from the United States. The US has sold the F-35 to a range of allies in the pastincluding Turkey, South Korea, Japan, and Israel. However, sales to the Gulf require a more extensive review to satisfy US policy that stipulates Israel must maintain a "qualitative military edge" in the region. Officials from the UAE believe that the accord to normalize ties with Israel should remove "any hurdle" preventing the sale, but Prime Minister Netanyahu has said Israel would still oppose any such deal. It is not expected that this dispute will interfere with the greater peace deal between the two countries. 


Police forcefully removed anti-Netanyahu protesters—including two former senior defense officials—from outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, on Thursday afternoon, so that a demonstration by Netanyahu supporters could be held there later in the day. During the past two months, tens of thousands have taken to the streets to rally against Netanyahu. The protests were seemingly galvanized in early July, when police violently dispersed several thousand people with water cannons, in Jerusalem’s Paris Circle. Since then, the Jerusalem protests have swelled significantly. The protesters’ central demand is for Netanyahu to resign—with two reasons generally being cited: Netanyahu’s three indictments; and the government’s mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.


The safety, health, and well-being of all community members is a priority for the Jewish Federation. Like many of you, we are closely monitoring the evolution of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This page has been developed to help our community stay informed and provide the resources needed to maintain a sense of connection. As more resources are curated, this page will be continually updated. 


Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC


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Jackie Congedo, Director 

Jewish Community Relations Council 

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