Weekly News Summary – December 14th to 20th 2019

News Summary

Right-wing parties make their moves:
Three right-wing parties have solidified their plans for the upcoming election. Yamina will run alone, and Bayit Yehuda and Otzma Yehudi will run together. In the last round, Yamina and Bayit Yehudi ran together, and Otzma Yehudi ran independently and missed the electoral threshold of 3.25%.  If all three parties make it this round, the right-wing parties could gain 3-5 seats, which would put them at or near the 61 they need to form a government without having to form any alliances with left-wing parties. This assumes, of course, that other right-wing parties lose no votes.

In the first round of elections in April, Yamina failed to meet the electoral threshold by only a few thousand votes, which is why the ran with Bayit Yehudi in the following round of elections. Now, they are returning to running alone, and are counting on the fact that voters who leave Likud because of the Netanyahu indictment will instead vote for Yamina. Plus, they do not have to contend with the Zehut party; who only ran in the first round and probably took many thousands of votes from Yamina due to some shared policy and ideological positions.

Mahmoud Abbas says he will cancel the elections until Jerusalem residents are allowed to vote:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will not hold elections for PA leadership until Arab residents in East Jerusalem are allowed to vote. Arabs in East Jerusalem are Israeli citizens and vote in Israel’s elections and are not permitted by Israel to vote in PA elections. Abbas had stated multiple times in the past several months, including while speaking at the UN, that he planned to hold elections very soon.

Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israeli Air Force responds:
The Israeli Air Force responded to two incidents of rocket fire on Wednesday and Thursday by striking targets in the Gaza Strip. This follows more than two weeks of calm on the Gazan border. No additional incidents were reported on Friday.

Russia detains dozens of Israelis at Moscow Airport:
Russia detained 46 Israeli’s at the Moscow Airport, held them for many hours, fingerprinted them, and confiscated their passports. This comes a week after 8 Israeli businesspeople were denied entry. 

Israeli officials speaking with Channel 12 said the incident does not appear to be connected to the Russian imprisonment of Neshama Issachar, a 26-year old Israeli who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison in Russia earlier this year after a small amount of marijuana was discovered in her luggage when she was flying through Moscow. One official told Channel 12 that the most likely explanation is some sort of retaliation against Israeli for detaining and turning away Russians at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport.