More fallout re: Rep. Omar; Talks on Temple Mount conflict: Israel Update

March 8, 2019

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Fallout continues in the wake of Representative Ilhan Omar's use of antisemitic language. The House of Representatives passed a resolution 407-23 condemning antisemitism and other forms of bigotry. The measure began as a response to comments by Rep.Omar last week that pro-Israel activists were pushing “for allegiance to a foreign country.” Language that condemned other forms of hatred was eventually added as rank-and-file Democrats felt that Ms. Omar was being unfairly singled out.


Israel is reportedly warning Palestinian terror organization Hamas that it faces widespread military action if it does not rein in violence along the country's border with the Gaza Strip, which it governs. The two sides are in the middle of indirect negotiations mediated by Egypt meant to consolidate a ceasefire after months of escalating tensions between the two sides, the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported. The Israeli warning comes amid an especially close election campaign in Israel, in which the issue of security has taken center stage.


The Central Elections Committee has allowed Otzma Yehudit’s candidates to run in the upcoming elections. The proposed ban was voted down on Wednesday by a one-vote margin. The petitions against former MK Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir, Otzma’s representatives in the Union of Right-Wing Parties, all called to disqualify them on grounds of racist incitement against Arabs. Even if the Central Elections Committee were to ban candidates or lists, they could appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. Last week, our local JCRC issued a condemnation against the entry of Otzma Yehudit as well.


At a graduation ceremony for an Israeli Navy cadets course, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of secretly smuggling oil to get past economic sanctions, and called on the international community to take action against the activity. Iran’s economy has suffered since the US reimposed strict sanctions after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal. Netanyahu also revealed that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with the leaders of Cyprus and Greece, will arrive in Israel soon to advance a gas pipeline project to supply Europe with natural gas from Israel’s offshore fields. 


High-level Israeli and Jordanian officials held talks to end the conflict over a contested religious area on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The longstanding closure of an area near the Golden Gate has ignited tensions between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli police in recent weeks. Worshipers have forced it open and entered on several occasions. Authorities are concerned that prayers at the Temple Mount today, the busiest day of the week, could devolve into violent clashes.


Two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a predawn car-ramming attack in the northern West Bank, one of them seriously, the army said. The IDF opened fire on the three occupants of the vehicle, killing two and wounding the third. The army said that “from an initial investigation it appears to have been an attack.” Palestinian residents of the village denied it was a deliberate attack and said it was an accident, noting the lack of streetlights, narrowness of the road and the thoroughfare’s nickname: “Death Street.” Hamas praised the attack.


Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC


Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati


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Invite your friends and Community Shaliach (Emissary) Amnon Maggid into your home or a local coffee shop to moderate a conversation about Israel. 

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