Will Yair Lapid & Bennett rotate Prime Minister? The Biden admin. keeps some old and some new Israel vocabulary in the State Dept. memo & An Israeli company gets green light for 20 second Covid Test.

Israel Daily News Wrap, Ep 166

  1. Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party is apparently considering teaming up with Yamina’s head Naftali Bennett for a prime ministerial rotation. Tuesday night the leader of the New Hope party, Gideon Sa’ar voiced a suggestion that Lapid put his ego aside. You see, since there was no clear winner in the last election, the next option could be to defer to the second largest seat-winner, which is Yesh Atid. That party would then need to form a government. The mandate for that would come down from Israel’s president, Reuvy Rivlin who is to hold two days of consultations starting April 5th. He’ll be interviewing parties about which candidate they back to form the government. In order to save Israel from going to a fifth election, we may see some unlikely political opponents team up in an effort to push out Netanyahu or on the contrary, to keep him in office. Yesh Atid critics say they believe if Bennett will get the opportunity to form a government, he will hand all the power over to Netanyahu. Lapid’s centrist party has received unofficial support, so just verbal yeses basically, from left-leaning Yisrael Beytenu 7 , Labor 7 and Meretz with 6. That’s 37 in total. Five members of the Arab Joint List are reportedly planning to recommend Lapid as well, so that could tack on another 5. Benny Gantz says his Blue and White party of 8 seats would “automatically” back Lapid, so long as their party support would for sure push him into a 61 seat majority. The Israeli Knesset or Parliament is comprised of 120 members. Netanyahu’s Likud party has 30 seats and expects 6 from Shas, 7 from United Torah and 6 from the Religious Zionist party, which would give him 52. I’ll keep you updated on what happens next.
  2. Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, father of Rina Shnerb, the 17-year old girl who was killed in a terrorist attack in the West Bank in 2019, is set to light a torch during the state’s 73rd Independence Day ceremony. Shnerb will be one of many prominent individuals, selected by a committee, to light a torch in the ceremony. Shnerb was hiking near a West Bank spring in August 2019 when a planted bomb was detonated by terrorists killing Rina and injuring Shnerb and his son Dvir. Culture and Sport Minister Chili Tropper explains he will be honored this year because of his work with his non-profit organization in Lod as well as his actions in memory of his daughter. The organization provides food to Israelis in need and host learning events. Shnerb responded to the news saying he was excited and that they named their infant daughter Tiferet on Independence Day, which means “glory” in Hebrew. They chose this name for the little one when she was born eight-months after Rina’s murder.
  3. A special ceremony commemorating Holocaust survivors will be held at the Ghetto Fighters House Museum near Acco in northern Israel. The ceremony will be called “Last Survivors” and it will honor Holocaust survivors who made Aliyah after losing their families in Europe and who later died fighting in the Israeli military. This year’s ceremony will feature six Holocaust survivors who will light torches in memory of the fallen soldiers who also also survived the holocaust. “The ceremony will reflect the human spirit, the struggle of survival and survivors’ path to revival by establishing the State of Israel. That’s all according to Yigal Cohen, CEO of the Ghetto Fighters House Museum. President Reuven Rivlin is set to be in attendance and will give a speech.
  4. PBS has delayed the release of their new documentary “Til Kingdom Come”, for an editorial review. The documentary, is centered around American evangelicals and their relationship with Israel. But it has been accused of misquoting former President Donald Trump by splicing together two separate parts of a speech he delivered. The spliced quote makes it appear that Trump said Israel should have complete sovereignty over the West Bank, which is not exactly what he said in the actual speech he gave. The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or CAMERA, detected the misquote and reported it. For now, the documentary remains under editorial review and there is no timetable for its release.
  5. The US State Department’s annual human rights violations report was published Tuesday and referred to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as territories “occupied” by Israel. The Biden administration did, however keep the formatting in the header as was organized by former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who pushed to have it say just “Israel” followed by a list of the disputed territories.
  6. And finally some good news, an Israeli company has received European approval for a rapid COVID-19 test that will help bolster international travel. The handheld SpectraLIT machine uses a light and shines it through the specimen, which gives an immediate yes or no to Covid in just 20 seconds. How cool is that? Let’s hope this gets adopted at a good cost across the world’s international airports.

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Shanna Fuld

Shanna Fuld

I’m a news reporter living in Tel Aviv, Israel. I cover everything including politics, economics & arts & culture.