Israeli elections signal ambiguity and change: Israel Update

September 20, 2019

Tuesday's Israeli election results are in, and it is still unclear who the country’s next prime minister will be or what the final outcomes are. With most of the votes counted, the leading parties, Blue and White and Likud, each secured 25% of the votes. The elected parties are now in negotiations to form a coalition government, though neither leading party appears likely to form such a coalition, outright. On Sunday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will begin consulting with party leaders to get recommendations for prime minister, and to move coalition building forward. Here is a comprehensive guide to the elections from the Jewish Federations of North America.  


The future Israeli prime minister may need to rein in a swelling budget deficit. Under the leadership of Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, the deficit has grown during the past year, possibly due to the combination of tax-cuts with an increased level of spending on cost-of-living subsidies and pay raises. If a national unity government were to emerge (one in which no party is able to declare a majority), economic analysts said the result could bring a downward pressure on state expenses.


The office of the European Union’s delegation in Israel was vandalized with graffiti, reading: “Get out EU” and “German money kills Jews.” The red spray-painted messages were found on Sunday in offices in Ramat Gan, a city adjacent to Tel Aviv. Delegation staff members shared footage from the building’s security cameras with police. They also filed an official complaint to the Foreign Ministry. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the attack.


A Palestinian woman was shot and killed at a West Bank checkpoint after attempting to stab an Israeli police officer. The woman entered a vehicle lane at the checkpoint and ignored calls from police to halt. “Security personnel who saw that she was approaching them performed the proper arrest procedures and called for her to stop,” police said in a statement. The woman was pronounced dead at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus, in Jerusalem.


The outgoing US envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. Greenblatt is the architect of the Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan, which has raised widespread skepticism and has already been dismissed by the Palestinians. The office of Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz confirmed that the US embassy has also contacted them and requested to schedule a meeting with Netanyahu’s rival for the premiership. 


Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC

Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati 


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Yossi Klein Halevi, Ambassador Dennis Ross and Unorthodox Podcast coming to Cincinnati

As part of a drive to promote robust, local dialogue about Israel, the We Need to Talk initiative is hosting Yossi Klein Halevi, former US Ambassador Dennis Ross, and Tablet Magazine's Unorthodox Podcast in the coming months at the Mayerson JCC. RSVP here.


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