UN Countries Warm to Israel; Netanyahu's Future Unclear: Israel Update


December 6, 2019


Signaling change, 13 countries voted against an anti-Israel UN resolution for the first time. The resolution, which mandates a special “Division for Palestinian Rights” inside the UN Secretariat, had previously elicited abstentions from all 13 countries. A total of 11 EU countries voted against the resolution, including Germany and the Czech Republic—a vote swing that can be directly attributed to the work of those two countries. Last May, Germany decided it would actively fight anti-Israel bias at the UN. And the Czech Republic, working inside EU forums, promoted more favorable voting patterns towards Israel. Despite efforts such as these, the resolution passed 87 to 23, with 54 abstentions. However, the swing in votes might be an indication that anti-Israel bias at the UN is waning. In other UN news, the Israeli Mission to the UN pushed for recognition of the 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran. 


A dramatic decision by the French National Assembly asserts anti-Zionism is antisemitism. The newly adopted definition does not prohibit criticism of Israel, but does declare that beliefs denying Jews (and only Jews) the right to self-determination—are antisemitic. The resolution, which passed Wednesday in France, was preceded by similar resolutions in the European Parliament and the German Bundestag. This new definition of antisemitism makes it clear that—just as demonizing Jews constitutes antisemitism—demonizing Israel does, as well.


Israel Border Police thwarted an ISIS terror attack on Jerusalem's Independence Day. Two suspects from the southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber were indicted in a Jerusalem court on charges of planning terrorist attacks on military and civilian targets on behalf of ISIS. While Israel has largely avoided an attack by the Islamic State, numerous Arab-Israelis have been arrested on suspicion of links with ISIS, as well as involvement in plans to carry out ISIS-inspired attacks.


Israel sends humanitarian aid to Albania after a deadly earthquake killed over 50 people and left thousands injured. The first delegation—comprised of members of a search-and-rescue crew in northern Israel—arrived in Albania the day after the initial quake to assist in relief efforts. A second Israeli delegation, arriving a few days later, included ten IDF Home Front Command engineering and structural specialists and reservists. In addition, Israel is sending an emergency medical team to help Samoa contain its deadly measles epidemic.


State prosecutors announced charges against former defense officials and associates of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu's cousin and former lawyer was indicted in a case alleging corruption in the purchase of naval vessels. "Case 3000," as it is known, centers on a possible conflict of interest surrounding the multi-billion-shekel procurement of military boats and submarines from Thyssenkrupp, the German shipbuilder, in 2016. The investigation ensnared several close associates of Netanyahu, but the premier himself was not declared a suspect.


Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC



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