Fifth World Holocaust Forum; Israel-Palestinian peace plan: Israel Update

January 24, 2020

Leaders from almost 50 countries gathered in Jerusalem on Thursday for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum. The occasion marked 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, stirring memories of that camp's unmatched horrors, and inspiring a united stand against the resurgence of antisemitism around the world. Among the highlights of the historic event was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pointed remarks about Nazi collaborators in Europe, who participated in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose parents are Holocaust survivors, ensured their attendance to the main ceremony at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem to Holocaust survivors, when he gave his parents seats designated to the Ukrainian delegation. In commemoration of 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a bi-partisan congressional delegation to Poland and Israel.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Leader Benny Gantz are expected to visit Washington next week for an update on the Trump administration’s Israel-Palestine peace plan. The plan has been rumored to include Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and all West Bank settlements, alongside a recognition of Palestinian statehood. The Palestinian Authority has had no substantive dealings with the US administration since the US embassy was moved to Jerusalem, in December of 2017, and is expected to reject the peace plan. A source in the Blue and White party speculated that the timing of Trump administration’s announcement, which is set to happen on the same day the Knesset plenum is scheduled to vote to form a House Committee that will reject Netanyahu’s immunity request, is not a coincidence. Gantz has long maintained that the United States should wait to publish the plan until after the upcoming legislative elections in early March.


With elections fast approaching, the issue of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank has taken center stage. On Tuesday, Benny Gantz said he would push to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley “in coordination with the international community.” One day later, Netanyahu and his office appealed to the White House for a 'green light' to apply Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and the northern region of the Dead Sea prior to the March elections. Early polling shows Gantz’s Blue and White party has a slight advantage over Netanyahu’s Likud party.


A petition filed by Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman and numerous other private individuals against the usage of DNA testing to confirm Jewishness by the Chief Rabbinate was struck down by the High Court of Justice, multiple reports confirmed. According to the decision, the petition raised the issue of rabbinical courts reexamining the Jewish status of someone already recognized as Jewish, as well as the issue of conducting DNA tests to prove it. The rabbinate is required to issue new, written rules on the issue and process within a year, the decision explained.


Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC


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