Can Netanyahu Survive?

For more than a year, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s scandal-plagued prime minister, has repeated a simple slogan: “There will be nothing, because there is nothing.” On Tuesday night, the Israeli police announced that there might be something, after all.

After a long probe, investigators recommended charging Netanyahu with bribery in two separate cases. In one, dubbed “Case 1000,” he allegedly received lavish gifts—cigars, champagne, tailored suits—from wealthy businessmen, in exchange for political favors. The police estimated the value of the gifts at one million shekels, or $282,000. The other (“Case 2000”) involves the publisher of Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s largest paid daily newspaper. Netanyahu is accused of colluding with the media mogul, trading favorable coverage for a law that would have helped Yediot’s bottom line. (The law was never passed.)

Now the question is: Can Netanyahu, Israel’s second longest-serving prime minister, survive?

So far, he has denied any Continue reading “Can Netanyahu Survive?”

Trump Wants to Make Mideast Peace? Good Luck With That.

JERUSALEMSara Netanyahu surely felt some sympathy for her guests. Like the Trumps, Israel’s first family has been plagued by an endless drip of scandals, many of them dredged up by a few dogged investigative reporters. So a few minutes after Air Force One landed, Sara, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tried to offer President Donald Trump a few sympathetic words. “The majority of the people of Israel, unlike the media, they love us,” she explained. “We have a lot in common,” Trump replied with a smirk.

Mired in controversy at home, the president has received a royal welcome in the Middle East, first in Saudi Arabia, then in Israel. On Monday he met with the Israeli president, toured Christian and Jewish holy sites in the Old City and had dinner with “my friend” Netanyahu. On Tuesday, he met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Continue reading “Trump Wants to Make Mideast Peace? Good Luck With That.”

Trump’s OK With a One-State Solution. So What Would It Look Like?

TEL AVIVIt was vague, like so many of Donald Trump’s pronouncements, and yet it was the president of the United States, standing at a podium in the White House, putting his imprimatur on a one-state solution. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like, I can live with either one,” he said on Wednesday, during a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

For two decades, the two-state solution has been the focal point of American policy in the Middle East. Bill Clinton had the Camp David summit, and his “Clinton parameters.” George W. Bush had the “road map for peace” and the Annapolis conference. Barack Obama had two rounds of U.S.-led talks (both abject failures without catchy names). His secretary of state, John Kerry, devoted his final major speech to the subject, an Continue reading “Trump’s OK With a One-State Solution. So What Would It Look Like?”

Trump’s OK With a One-State Solution. So What Would It Look Like?

TEL AVIVIt was vague, like so many of Donald Trump’s pronouncements, and yet it was the president of the United States, standing at a podium in the White House, putting his imprimatur on a one-state solution. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like, I can live with either one,” he said on Wednesday, during a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

For two decades, the two-state solution has been the focal point of American policy in the Middle East. Bill Clinton had the Camp David summit, and his “Clinton parameters.” George W. Bush had the “road map for peace” and the Annapolis conference. Barack Obama had two rounds of U.S.-led talks (both abject failures without catchy names). His secretary of state, John Kerry, devoted his final major speech to the subject, an Continue reading “Trump’s OK With a One-State Solution. So What Would It Look Like?”

Trump Could Be Israel’s Worst Nightmare

TEL AVIV—It was a valedictory speech, irrelevant in a few weeks, but John Kerry’s much-anticipated remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were still a remarkable indictment. In a 75-minute address at the State Department on Wednesday, the secretary of state outlined a long list of reasons why the two-state solution was on its deathbed, and defended last week’s abstention from a controversial Security Council vote on Israeli settlements. He laid most of the blame on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing government, whose policies, he argued, were pushing Israel toward a binational state with the Palestinians. “Friends tell each other hard truths,” he said.

Netanyahu was quick to fire back, calling the speech “biased against Israel.” It was an immediate, furious reaction, just like Netanyahu’s response to the Security Council vote, when he accused the Obama administration of a “shameful ambush.” On Christmas Day, after the Foreign Ministry Continue reading “Trump Could Be Israel’s Worst Nightmare”

Why Israel Loves Donald Trump

TEL AVIV — This might be the most surprising poll from a wild, unpredictable 2016 campaign: One in four Israeli Jews would vote for Donald Trump.

The real estate mogul does not have a coherent position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, except to break with decades of Republican orthodoxy and announce that he would be “neutral.” His GOP rivals repeated that line endlessly, hoping it would blunt Trump’s rise in the polls. It didn’t.

His campaign, run in the style of an authoritarian strongman, has earned him sharp criticism from American Jews, the largest Jewish community outside of Israel. And his backers include a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan who hopes Trump will “rehabilitate” Hitler’s image, a statement that ought to give pause to anyone in Israel. Indeed, the big question looming over this week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention is just how many delegates will walk Continue reading “Why Israel Loves Donald Trump”

The Age of the Lone Wolf Intifada

There’s a Palestinian uprising going on, but it won’t be like any we’ve ever had.