Lockdown tightens; Israel and US seek new peace deals: Israel Update


September 25, 2020


US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said on Wednesday that a peace deal between Israel and another Arab state could be imminent. In addition to Sudan—Oman and Morocco are likely candidates to sign a deal with Israel in the near future. Craft framed the current normalization effort as a counter to the Iranian regime. “Obviously, we would welcome for Saudi Arabia to be next, but what’s important is that we focus on the agreement, and we do not allow [Iran] to exploit the goodwill of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, or Israel,” Craft said. 


US–Sudanese negotiations aimed at normalizing relations between the two counties, as well as relations between Sudan and Israel, ended Wednesday without a breakthrough. Sudan’s new civilian-led government is wanting to be removed from the US 'blacklist' of states that sponsor terrorism, and Washington believes that such a desire could motivate the country to become the latest Arab state to recognize Israel. The UAE hosted the talks and mediated the discussions. The Arab federation was ready to contribute financial aid to Sudan in order to reach a deal, but after three days of negotiations there was no agreement over the amount of aid Sudan could expect in return for normalizing relations with the US and Israel.


Israel's sweeping new lockdown went into effect at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, as lawmakers continued to discuss how to handle public protests and prayers. The lockdown is slated to last two weeks and will encompass the upcoming holidays of Yom Kippur and Sukkot. In a Thursday meeting, the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee debated implementing a stricter national lockdown, but no agreement was reached. Under the new rules, virtually all businesses will be closed. There will be exceptions for companies and factories designated as “essential” by the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Authority. The new lockdown measures were spurred by a tremendous surge in coronavirus cases. The Health Ministry noted that the 7,755 new virus cases diagnosed on Thursday represented a record high. This followed two consecutive days where the number of new infections neared 7,000.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to end the de facto freeze on settler housing approvals by convening the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria. It is expected that the council’s agenda would involve the advancement or approval of plans for 5,000 settler homes. The council is under the purview of Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, but earlier this month Gantz said he had been prevented from convening the council by Netanyahu, who has the final say on settler construction. The move comes in the aftermath of a Channel 12 poll showing Netanyahu’s Likud party had dropped to 29 mandates—down from the 36 it received in the March elections.



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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