Join Jim and Greg as they welcome growing evidence that coronavirus transmission rates are very low in the schools. Jim explains why the Trump campaign’s accusations of massive election fraud don’t seem to hold water. And they shake their heads as Barack Obama reveals why his Middle East peace efforts went nowhere.
On Monday, Israeli voters went to the polls for the third time in less than a year to determine it’s political leadership. After two election results that failed to result in a winner, voters this time seem more favorable to keeping Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Incomplete returns show Netanyahu’s Likud Party winning the most seats. When factoring coalition partners, Netanyahu is within a seat or two in the Israeli Knesset of being able to forge a new government, but getting those final few seats could be a major challenge.
Why is Israeli so divided politically? Why did Netanyahu do better in this election despite having formal corruption charges lodged against him? What are the pros and cons of Netanyahu’s chief rival, Gen. Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party.
We discuss all of these questions with retired Israeli Brig. General Elihu Ben-Onn, who also offers his advice on how to avoid another exhausting campaign if Netanyahu cannot form a government in the days ahead.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is already in the midst of a political drama and now he’s facing a legal one too.
On Thursday, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Netanyahu is charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. Bribery carries a maximum sentence of ten years while the other charges could bring an additional three years. The allegations stem from allegations Netanyahu accepted gifts in exchange for political favors and also provided regulatory relief to two major media outlets in exchange for favorable coverage.
Netanyahu says the indictments are politically motivated and contends it may be time to “investigate the investigators.”
All of this comes as Netanyahu serves as a caretaker prime minister in Israel. Parliamentary elections were held in Israel in September. Netanyahu and chief rival Benny Gantz finished in a virtual dead heat, but neither party was anywhere close to holding a majority in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
Netanyahu was given the first chance to form a coalition government with smaller parties but he failed. Gantz was then given the opportunity to forge a majority government and also failed. Right now, the Knesset is tasked with choosing a prime minister or another election will have to be scheduled.
Is the evidence against Netanyahu compelling or a political smear as he alleges? Do these charges change the political dynamics in Israel or are loyalties largely entrenched as they are in the U.S.? And would new elections actually lead to a decisive winner or just result in another stalemate?
We address these questions and more as Greg Corombos interviews American Foreign Policy Council Vice President Ilan Berman.
On Tuesday, voters in Israel voted in another round of parliamentary elections. As expected, the results show a virtual dead heat between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and the Blue and White Party led by retired Israeli Gen. Benny Gantz.
Blue and White shows a very slight lead in the election returns, but neither party is anywhere close to having a majority of seats in the Israeli parliament. Both sides say they are willing to forge a unity government but both Netanyahu and Gantz insist on being prime minister.
So what happens now? How will a majority coalition get assembled? What happens if there can be no majority? And how much will things change in Israel if Gantz becomes prime minister?
This podcast addresses all these questions and more as Greg Corombos interview American Foreign Policy Council Senior Vice President Ilan Berman.
On Tuesday, Israeli voters once again decided to keep Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, rewarding him and his coalition partners for a decade of strong economic growth and national security, but also suggesting a new party will be a major player in Israeli politics over the coming years.
Netanyahu’s Likud party actually tied the upstart Blue and White party, by winning 35 seats apiece in the 120-seat Israeli parliament, known as the Knesset. But when adding in like-minded parties, Netanyahu’s coalition is expected to control 65 seats in the new government.
So why is Netanyahu still popular after ten years in office, even while facing corruption charges?
Foundation for the Defense of Democracies President Clifford May says Israeli voters credit Netanyahu for turning their economy around and rightly so.
“He, as finance minister and as prime minister, is more responsible than anyone else for Israel making a transition from essentially a democratic socialist government to a capitalist economy,” said May.
May says Netanyahu’s strong defense of Israel against hostile neighbors like Hamas and Syria are also appreciated by the Israeli people, although he says the Blue and White party also fielded a candidate – retired Gen. Benny Gantz – who has strong national security credentials.
Listen to the full podcast as May discusses what Netanyahu’s win means for U.S.-Israeli relations and how the politics in Israel have shifted greatly in just a few years.
Middle East tensions are heating up again as Israel mounts a military response to nearly 200 Hamas rockets fired into Israel, but a Reagan-era Pentagon official says the real headline here is that the benefactors of Hamas are rattled.
“I think it’s because its patron, Iran, is in trouble. The Iranians are making a concerted effort, I think, to attack Israel while they can,” said Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney, who served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.
“The regime, the mullah-ocracy if you will, is increasingly facing pressure from its own people, among others things, to stop supporting Hamas and for that matter Bashar Assad in Syria and Hezbollah,” added Gaffney.
Instability has arisen in Iran before, most notably in the 2009 Green Revolution against the mullahs and then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after clearly rigged elections.
But Gaffney says the current protests are unlike anything we’ve seen before.
“What seems to be different about what’s happening now is that it’s not just certain strata of society that are opposing the government in a visible, public way, as was true in the Green Revolution.
“You have masses of people from across the demographic, political, economic spectrum, many of whom are facing the fact that there’s no longer any water for them to drink. There’s no employment opportunities. They’re fleeing their cities and towns and going elsewhere in search of basic necessities,” said Gaffney.
The Israeli military has already carried out airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza after 180 rockets were fired into Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ordering “strong action” in retaliation as well.
Gaffney says it’s a complicated issue for Israel. On the one hand, Netanyahu cannot allow his country to be attacked without a fierce response. At the same time, Hamas consistently embeds its military elements in civilian locations like hospitals and daycare centers. When Israel attacks the military assets, Hamas and much of the world inevitably accuse it of carry out human rights atrocities.
But Gaffney says both sides need to walk a diplomatic tightrope.
“I think both sides are trying to walk that fine line. The folks in Hamas understand that Israel can do very considerable harm to their infrastructure and operations. On the other hand Israelis understand almost anything they do is going to be met with intense criticism by countries elsewhere,” said Gaffney.
The U.S. will be one of the few nations to defend Israel at the United Nations and elsewhere. But Gaffney says President Trump can achieve greater stability in the Middle East by choking the economic life out of Iran and all of its proxies in the region.
Specifically, he implores Trump to keep up pressure through economic sanctions. Earlier this week, the U.S. reimposed sanctions on items ranging from carpets to gold and from pistachios to automobiles and aircraft. Another round of sanctions are scheduled for early November, which will target Iran banks and the oil industry.
“This is a moment when economic warfare against the regime and making very clear our desire to help the Iranian people and stand with them will have a very salutary effect,” said Gaffney.