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Weekly Newsletter
May 8, 2020
In this issue:
  • Israeli government to be sworn in next Wednesday, May 13th
  • Iran withdrawing from Syria, says Israeli official
  • CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES: PM Netanyahu presented the courses of action and main dilemmas in the Israeli exit strategy

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Israeli government to be sworn in May 13th

This past Thursday the Knesset approved the prime ministerial rotation law, underpinning the coalition agreement between the Likud and Blue and White, paving the way for the alternating government to be sworn in next week.

  • The bill was approved by a majority of 72 to 36. The right-wing Yamina party, which has not yet signed up to the coalition agreement, did not show up for the vote, and neither did Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman.
  • Wednesday night the Supreme Court ruled that interim Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can form a government under indictment and rejected the petitions disqualifying the coalition agreement between Likud and Blue and White.
  • The court’s verdict said: “An indictment pending against an MK does not preclude assigning him the task of forming a government and, deriving from that, his appointment as the prime minister. The decision to ask the president to assign the task of forming the government on a Member of Knesset is a decision that involves the use of broad political judgment. It is designed to translate the voters’ wishes into support for one of the Members of Knesset to serve as prime minister. That is at the heart of the democratic process. External intervention in that process constitutes a substantive blow to the principle of majority rule, which is at the foundation of our system of government.”
  • With a presidential mandate, Netanyahu would have two weeks to finalise his coalition with Benny Gantz.
Iran withdrawing from Syria, says Israeli official

A senior Israeli security official said Tuesday that “for the first time since Iran first entered Syria, it is now reducing its troop numbers and is evacuating bases”. The official added: “Syria has been paying a rising price for the Iranian presence in its territory, for a war that isn’t its own. Iran has gone from being an asset to a liability for Syria. Israel will ramp up the pressure on Iran until its departure from Syria.”

  • Following the attack, Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said: “We are determined, very determined, and I’ll tell you why. For Iran, Syria is a distant adventure that is 1,000 kilometres from home. For us it’s about life. We are far more determined. Iranian soldiers who arrive on Syrian soil and operate there are putting themselves at risk. They are endangering their own lives. They are paying with their lives and will continue even more so. We will not give in and we will not allow a forward Iranian base to be established in Syria.”
  • Israel has also noted a significant drop in the past six months in the number of cargo flights that are used to smuggle weapons from Iran to Syria. One reason is due to the coronavirus pandemic and the requirement of using airplanes to transport medical aid instead of weaponry.
Prime Minister Netanyahu presented the courses of action and main dilemmas in the Israeli exit strategy as well as the necessary preparations for a second outbreak of the pandemic in Israel

PM Netanyahu, Thursday participated in a conference of the leaders of the countries at the forefront of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, hosted by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The leaders sought to learn from the Israeli model for dealing with outbreak zones, “red zones” (restricted areas), in order to allow for the continuation of routines in other areas where infection is minimal.

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