PM Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Gantz each blamed the other after a fruitless 45 minute meeting to try and form a government and keep the country from holding an unprecedented third consecutive election. The two biggest hurdles to overcome in reaching an agreement are the issue of who would serve as prime minister first in a rotation agreement and whether members of the other parties in Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc would also be part of the government.
The PM claimed today that if new elections are held, he will be victorious. He is heading to Portugal this week, where he will meet with US Secretary of State Pompeo.
The French National Assembly has passed a bill which rules that anti-Zionism is a modern form of anti-Semitism. The vote was 154 to 72. Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised the bill saying, “I intend on continuing to act for more countries to understand and support the definition of anti-Israelism and hatred of Israel as anti-Semitism. This is an important step in the battle against anti-Semitism and I call for other countries to go in France’s footsteps.”
According to an investigation by Kan News journalist Carmela Menashe, the IDF’s Haredi recruitment division is said to have essentially “forged” the number of Haredi recruits by including non-Haredi religious soldiers and secular soldiers.
Menashe found that in 2017 the official number of Haredi recruits (as reported by the IDF) stood at 3,070, only 130 fewer than the recruitment target of 3,200 set by the government in 2016. In reality, however, only 1,300 soldiers were in fact Haredi. In 2018 only 1,650 Haredi soldiers were recruited, which is around half the number reported. Both the IDF chief of staff and the defense minister have been made aware of the report about the inaccurate recruiting figures.
A group of Israeli deputy mayors who traveled to Jordan to visit Petra were forced to remove their tzitzit, kippot and any other Jewish religious articles. Deputy Mayor of Rehovot Yaniv Markowitz said, “They threw the tzitzit in the garbage. They checked each one of us to make sure that there weren’t tzitzit under our shirts.” The Jordanian officials claimed that the confiscations of religious items were done to protect the Israelis.