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5/17/2017 More fear than hope with Trump coming to Israel - History

5/17/2017 More fear than hope with Trump coming to Israel - History


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The mood in Tel Aviv today is grim. Various sources have confirmed that this intelligence was given to the United States by Israel and that information was considered highly secret and not to be shared with any other intelligence agencies.

The carelessness (being generous) with which President Donald Trump handles state secrets should come as no surprise to Israelis. Ronen Bergman reported in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper this past January, that the outgoing American administration had warned its Israeli intelligence counterparts against sharing too much with the incoming administration – cautioning that it would get to the Russians. In retrospect, it is clear that this was one forewarning that should have been heeded.

Of course, officially, everything is fine. Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz stated: “We fully believe in the US intelligence community. Cooperation between both countries will continue and deepen regarding threats posed by Iran, ISIS, and their proxies.” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a statement relaying something similar. However, neither minister mentioned President Trump.

Up until yesterday, both the left-wing and the right-wing in Israel were able to tell themselves stories envisioning how Trump was going to be our savior. Initially, the right-wing believed Trump was going to end the concept of the two-state solution; while many in the left-wing thought President Trump might really bring about an agreement for peace. However, everyone's hopes have been destroyed in the last two days.

The right-wing spent the past week ignoring the signs that Trump was planning to do all he could to bring about an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and were still calling on Prime Minister Netanyahu to officially repudiate the two-state solution. They had not realized they were living in a fantasyland created by spending too much time listening to Trump's campaign promises.

By last night, most of the true Trump believers here realized their hopes were being shattered. Trump is not going to change US policy on the Middle East. He is not going to endanger his emerging alliance with the Sunni Arab world, by upending 50 years of US policy with regard to Jerusalem. Last night I was a guest on an Arabic language TV station i24News in Arabic (i24News broadcasts in both English and French as well). One of the main topics was the possibility of the creation of a Sunni Nato to counter Iran and fight terrorism. The other guest in the studio and I both agreed it would be difficult to achieve without an active Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Everyone knows that a successful peace process can only lead to one thing — i.e., a two-state solution; the very thing the Israeli right-wing (especially the religious right) fear the most. It is finally sinking in to the Israeli right that all their hopes Trump would embrace their dreams have been dashed.

On the left, the realization has begun to sink in that even with the best intentions, President Trump is incapable of truly addressing the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No one believes that peace can be achieved by the waving of a magic wand – even if that wand is held by the President of the United States. Certainly not by a President who has been accused of wrongdoing, to the level that the word impeachment is being spoken about publicly.
Israelis across the spectrum have been appalled by the controversies surrounding Trump's intended visit to the Western Wall. It is clear that the Trump administration's handling of the planning of this first presidential overseas trip has been amateurish. The decision to visit sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, of which Israel gained control during the Six Day War, was ill-advised, to say the least. No sitting US President has ever done so, all avoiding one of the most explosive subjects in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. If one visits there under the auspices of Israeli hosts, you are saying to the Arab world you recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area. If you do what President Trump chose to do, you anger most Israelis — Since there are few Israelis, even on the left-wing of the spectrum, who would agree to any future peace agreement that did not keep the Western Wall in Israeli hands.

Trump's constant equivocation and the impossibility of figuring out what he might ultimately decide to do has become exceedingly demoralizing to many here — particularly those on the left, who harbored high hopes that the President might actually achieve some sort of breakthrough — or as I've heard repeatedly in the past few weeks ... "Only Trump can do it". As of late, the misadventures of the Trump White House have led the news here, with only the occasional local scandal intruding. By this morning, many Israelis have begun to realize that a little more than 100 days into his term, Trump may be a lame duck.

Very few Israelis understand what the 25th Amendment is, or how impeachment might work. That being said, a President who is fighting for his political survival a mere 100 plus days into his presidency is unlikely meet even the minimal hopes of either the right-wing or left-wing in Israel. Now, everyone's hope has been replaced by a fear of what damage he might leave behind after he departs.


How the Immigrants Who Came to Ellis Island in 1907 Compare to Arrivals Today

The busiest day at Ellis Island was April 17, 1907, when 11,747 immigrants passed through the processing center to enter the United States. Nearly 1.3 million immigrants came to the U.S. that year𠅊 record for highest volume of immigrants that held until 1990. Like immigrants today, these people came in search of a better and safer life. Yet compared to immigrants in 2017, immigrants back then were much less likely to speak English or be skilled workers, according to new research.

Most immigrants in 1907 came from Europe, and many white, Protestant Americans feared these immigrants couldn’t 𠇊ssimilate.” Catholic immigrants from southern and eastern Europe were supposedly too culturally different. And German immigrants, then America’s largest non-English-speaking group, were establishing German-language schools and newspapers across the U.S. instead of integrating themselves into English-speaking institutions.

Immigrants in Ellis Island, circa 1907.

“Those same fears are echoed today, just about a different group of immigrants,” says Andrew Lim, the director of quantitative research at New American Economy. Lim recently published a study comparing immigrants in 1907 to those in 2017.

In 1907, immigrants from Russia accounted for 19 percent of U.S. immigration, more than any other country. Next after Russia were Italy and Austria, which accounted for 15 percent each. Of the top 10 countries that immigrants came from, only two were outside of Europe: Canada (5.7 percent) and Mexico (2.7 percent). At the time, discriminatory policies like the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Gentlemen’s Agreement barred almost all immigration from China and Japan.

One fourth of these immigrants settled in New York and New Jersey, close to the major entry point of Ellis Island. In general, 1907 immigrants were much more geographically concentrated than immigrants today. Some moved west to states like Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio, but they didn’t settle evenly across the U.S.

In 2017, the top three states where immigrants settled were California, Texas and Florida, but 𠇎very state received or welcomed new immigrants,” Lim says. In a vast shift from 1907 when rules prevented Chinese people from immigrating, China was one of the top sources of U.S. immigrants in 2017, along with India, the Philippines, Brazil and South Korea. 

Only about half of immigrants spoke English when they entered the country in 1907 (for comparison, 84 percent of immigrants in 2017 spoke English). They were also less educated and less skilled than immigrants today. Only 1.3 percent held a professional occupation, such as lawyer, teacher, engineer or doctor. The largest portion of immigrants were manual laborers who might work in warehouses or perform outdoor tasks like woodchopping. Nearly a quarter were machine operators who might drive delivery trucks or work at a laundry service.

But lack of English or work skills weren’t the only reasons immigrants faced discrimination. There was also a general feeling that immigrants were too culturally foreign to live in the U.S. German-speaking immigrants who came over in 1907 faced a lot of backlash a decade later, when the U.S. entered World War I. Germany was an adversary in the war, and immigrants from there suddenly became “hyphenated Americans” for practicing their own cultural traditions. President Woodrow Wilson declared that 𠇊ny man who carries a hyphen about with him, carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic when he gets ready.”

In addition, Catholic immigrants from southern and eastern Europe became associated with drinking and crime. White Protestant men in the Anti-Saloon League—many of whom would go on to join the new Ku Klux Klan after 1915𠅊rgued that the U.S. needed to pass a Prohibition amendment before these new immigrants acquired more voting power. During the 1920s, the KKK gained millions of members by advertising itself as a vigilante police force that would keep Catholic immigrants from countries like Italy in line.

The U.S. tried to reduce this type of immigration with the 1924 Immigration Act, which introduced numerical caps or quotas based on country of origin. These quotas gave enormous preference to people from northern and western Europe over those from southern and eastern parts of the continent. But despite intense fears that the latter type of immigrants could never really be American, they and their descendants became an important part of the country.

“There are inherent challenges to coming to a new country and finding your way,” Lim says. Even so, “if you look at things that are critical to the idea of integration or assimilation,” like language or job skills, “immigrants today actually perform better on paper” than those who came to America over a century ago.


Trump's Powerful Israel Speech: 'I. Marveled at the Monument to God's Presence'

WATCH PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ISRAEL MUSEUM SPEECH IN ITS ENTIRETY:

FULL TEXT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SPEECH:

Thank you, Prime Minister Netanyahu. I want to thank you and Sara for hosting us for what has been an unforgettable visit to this very special land. I also want to thank Chairman Itzik Molko, Acting Director Ayellet Shilloh-Tamir, and Chief Operating Officer Dalia Lazar, for hosting us today in this incredible museum. And thank you, Ambassador and Mrs. Friedman for joining us, along with a number of very good friends who have come from our country to yours as we reaffirm the unshakeable bond between the United States and Israel.

I want to begin my remarks today by sending the thoughts and prayers of the entire American People to the victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester, in the United Kingdom, and our condolences to the many families who lost their loved ones. Dozens of innocent people and beautiful young children were savagely murdered in this heinous attack upon humanity. I repeat again that we must drive out the terrorists and the extremists from our midst, obliterate this evil ideology, and protect and defend our citizens. All civilized nations must be united in this effort. This trip is focused on that goal: bringing nations together around the goal of defeating the terrorism that threatens the world and crushing the hateful ideology that drives it so hard, and seems to be driving it so fast.

It is a privilege to stand here in this national museum, in the ancient city of Jerusalem, to address the Israeli people – and all people in the Middle East who yearn for security, prosperity, and peace.

Jerusalem is a sacred city. Its beauty, splendor, and heritage are like no other place on earth. What a heritage. The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel's white and blue flag.

Yesterday, I visited the Western Wall, and marveled at the monument to God's presence and man's perseverance – I was humbled to place my hand upon the wall and to pray in that holy space for wisdom from God.

I also visited and prayed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a site revered by Christians throughout the world. I laid a wreath at Yad Vashem, honoring, remembering, and mourning the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. I pledged there what I pledge again to those here today: NEVER AGAIN.

Israel is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people. From all parts of this great country, one message resounds: and that is the message of hope.

Down through the ages, the Jewish people have suffered persecution, oppression and even those who have sought their destruction. But, through it all, they have endured – and they have thrived.

I stand in awe of the accomplishments of the Jewish People, and I make this promise to you: My Administration will always stand with Israel.
Through your hardships, you have created one of the most abundant lands in the world. A land that is rich not only in history, culture, and opportunity, but especially in spirit.

This museum where we are gathered today tells the story of that spirit - from the two Holy Temples, to the glorious heights of Masada, we see an incredible story of faith and perseverance. That faith is what inspired Jews to believe in their destiny, to overcome their despair, and to build here a future that others dared not to dream.

In Israel, not only are Jews free to till the soil, teach their children, and pray to God in the ancient land of their forefathers. But Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths, are free to live and worship according to their conscience and to follow their dreams.

Today, gathered with friends, I call upon all people – Jews, Christians, Muslims, and every faith, tribe, and creed – to draw inspiration from this ancient city, to set aside our sectarian differences, to overcome oppression and hatred, and to give all children the freedom and hope and dignity written into our souls.

Earlier this week, I spoke at a historic summit in Saudi Arabia. There, I urged our friends in the Muslim world to join us in creating stability, safety and security. I was deeply encouraged by the desire of many leaders to join us in cooperation toward these shared and vital goals. Conflict cannot continue forever – the only question is when nations will decide that they have had enough.

That historic summit represents a new opportunity for people throughout the Middle East to overcome sectarian and religious divisions to extinguish the fires of extremism, and find common ground and shared responsibility in making the future of this region. Change must come from within.

No mother or father wants their children to grow up in a world where terrorists roam free, schoolchildren are murdered, and their loved ones are taken. No child is born with prejudice in their heart. No one should teach young boys and girls to hate and kill.

And no civilized nation can tolerate the massacre of innocents with chemical weapons.

My message to that summit was the same message I have for you: We must build a coalition of partners who share the aim of stamping out extremism and violence – and providing our children a peaceful and hopeful future.

But a hopeful future for children in the Middle East requires the world to fully recognize the vital role of the state of Israel.

And, on behalf of the United States, we pledge to stand by you and defend our shared values so that together we can defeat terrorism and create safety for all of God's children.

Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence. Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs. Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities where schoolchildren have to be trained to hear the sirens and run to bomb shelters. ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues, and storefronts. And Iran's leaders routinely call for Israel's destruction. Not with Donald J. Trump.

Despite these challenges, Israel is thriving as a sovereign nation – and no international body should question the contributions Israel makes to the region.

Today, let us pray for that peace – and for a more hopeful future across the Middle East.

There are those who present a false choice. They say that we must choose between supporting Israel and supporting Arab and Muslim nations in the region. That is completely wrong. All decent people want to live in peace, and all humanity is threatened by the evils of terrorism. Diverse nations can unite around the goal of protecting innocent life, upholding human dignity, and promoting peace and stability in the region. My Administration is committed to pursuing such a coalition, and we have already made substantial progress during this trip.

We know, for instance, that both Israelis and Palestinians seek lives of hope for their children. And we know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis which has dragged on for nearly half a century.

As I have repeatedly said, I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement, and I had a meeting this morning with President Mahmoud Abbas and I can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace – and, from my meeting with my friend Benjamin Netanyahu, I can tell you Israelis are ready to reach for peace as well.

Making peace will not be easy. We all know that. Both sides will face tough decisions. But with determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal. But even as we work toward peace, we will build strength to defend our nations.

The United States is firmly committed to keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias that are causing so much suffering and chaos throughout the Middle East.

America's security partnership with Israel is stronger than ever – including the Iron Dome missile defense program, which has been keeping the Israeli people safe from short-range rockets launched by Hezbollah and Hamas. And David's sling which guards against long-range missiles. It is my hope that someday very soon Israeli children will never need to rush towards shelter, as sirens ring out.

Finally, the United States is proud that Israeli Air Force pilots are flying new American F-35 planes to defend their nation, and it was wonderful to see these mighty aircraft in the skies over Israel recently as you celebrated the 69th anniversary of Israel's independence.

But even as we strengthen our partnership in practice, let us always remember our highest ideals – let us never forget that the bond between our two nations is woven together in the hearts of our people – and their love of freedom, hope, and dignity for every man and every woman.

Let us dream of a future where Jewish, Muslim and Christian children can grow up together and live together in trust, harmony, tolerance and respect.

The values practiced in Israel have inspired millions all across the world.

The conviction of Theodor Herzl rings true today: "whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind."

As we stand in Jerusalem, we see pilgrims of all faiths coming to this land to walk on this hallowed ground.

Jews place the prayers from their hearts in the stone blocks of the Western Wall.

Christians pray in the pews of an ancient church.

Muslims answer the call to prayer at their holy sites.

This city, like no other place in the world, reveals the longing of the human heart – to know and worship God.

Jerusalem stands as a reminder that life can flourish against any odds.

When we look around this city, and we see people of all faiths engaged in reverent worship, and school children learning side-by-side, and men and women lifting up the needy and forgotten, we see that God's promise of healing has brought goodness to so many lives. We see that the people of this land had the courage to overcome the oppression and injustice of the past – and to live in the freedom God intends for every person on this earth.

Today, in Jerusalem, we pray and we hope that children around the world will soon be able to live without fear, to dream without limits, and to prosper without violence. I ask this land of promise to join with me to fight our common enemies, to pursue our shared values, and to protect the dignity of every child of God.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the State of Israel. And God bless the United States.


U.S. foreign aid: A waste of money or a boost to world stability? Here are the facts

It has long been a divisive issue: how much money the United States gives to foreign nations in aid, what kind of effect development assistance actually has on recipient nations, and whether America should be involved in the aid-giving business at all.

Advocates of foreign aid say programs backed by U.S. funding help feed the needy, promote social and economic progress, and foster political stability. Critics, on the other hand, point to fraud and the misuse of aid, inadequate tracking of provisions, and the prospect of nations becoming dependent on U.S. handouts.

So what’s true and what’s false about one of politics’ most contentious issues?

More than 20% of America’s federal budget goes to foreign aid.

False

The amount is actually about 1%. The current projected spending for fiscal year 2017 is $4 trillion. The Obama administration had planned for $41.9 billion in foreign aid for this year. Polls show that Americans typically believe that the U.S. spends 25% to 27% on foreign aid.

Tons of basic food supplies such as grains, flour and protein powders, donated by the U.S. Agency for International Development, are kept in secured buildings to provide for the hundreds of thousands of people at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Afghanistan is slated to be the biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid this year.

True

The planned amount of American aid for Afghanistan in 2017 is $4.7 billion, according to the website ForeignAssistance.gov, a tool for tracking U.S. foreign assistance spending. Funding to this Asian nation is intended to support the agricultural sector by creating jobs build a national education system assist reproductive health and establish basic infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, according to information published by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. In 2014, Afghanistan received $7.3 billion in foreign assistance from the U.S., of which more than half went toward conflict prevention and security, according to USAID.

Israel comes in second among U.S. aid recipients, with a planned disbursement of $3.1 billion in 2017, according to U.S. government statistics. Jordan is third at $1 billion.

This 2012 photo shows hand pump mechanics who have been trained through USAID’s Afghan Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Project. They are paid by community contributions for the maintenance of wells. (Tetra Tech)

Slashing foreign aid would reduce the federal deficit by as much as 20%.

False

Experts say cutting the foreign aid budget, which currently amounts to $50.1 billion, would do very little to reduce the deficit, which in 2016 was $552 billion.

The New Stock Exchange in New York. (Bryan R. Smith / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump wants to slash the U.S. foreign assistance programs by more than 20%.

True

In March, as part of his suggested budget for fiscal year 2018, President Trump proposed a combined budget of $25.6 billion for both the State Department and that U.S. Agency for International Development. That would be an estimated 28% cut in current spending on foreign assistance programs and U.S. diplomatic engagement, which total $50 billion for the current fiscal year.

According to a 15-page State Department budget document obtained by Foreign Policy magazine and detailed in a report by the publication in April, global health programs would take a 25% cut in aid while, among other sectors, the Bureau for Food Security, which works on eliminating hunger, would lose 68% of its funding.

Congress would have to vote on the president’s budget once he releases it, possibly late this month. In the meantime, a more than $1-trillion funding package that Congress and the White House agreed to on Sunday to keep the government afloat through the remainder of the 2017 budget year maintains most foreign aid programs and increases spending for international famine relief.

Copies of President Trump's America First budget at the Government Publishing Officebookstore in Washington, D.C. (Shawn Thew / European Press Agency)

Aid to Israel will face the ax next year.

False

Aid to Israel is safe — at least under Trump’s proposed budget. Last year, the U.S. signed a 10-year defense deal with Israel that promises to provide the Middle Eastern nation a record $38 billion in security aid.

The United States agreed to a $38 billion, 10-year aid package for Israel in September. (Drew Angerer / Pool Photo)

Scandals that have beset U.S. aid programs include theft of malaria drugs and laundering of HIV/AIDS program funds.

True

Millions of dollars worth of antimalarial drugs provided by the U.S. government are being stolen and resold on the black market in Africa, according USAID’s office of inspector general, which monitors the agency. The U.S. government fights malaria in 19 African countries through a program called the President’s Malaria Initiative.

In January, the inspector general’s office reported that an investigation it launched in the West African nation of Guinea led to the arrest of eight people on suspicion of illegally selling USAID-issued antimalarial drugs in public markets of Conakry, the country’s capital. U.S. funding for combating malaria has exceeded $72 million since fiscal year 2011 and amounted to $15 million in fiscal year 2016, according to the office.

Last year, the monitoring agency announced the relaunch of its Make a Difference Malaria hotline to make it easier for Nigerians to report stolen, counterfeit or resale antimalarial drugs. The hotline offers rewards of $100 to $10,000. A similar program is underway in Malawi, according to the office.

USAID’s funds have also fallen victim to money laundering. In February, the agency announced the arrest of a South African doctor, Eugene Sickle, who served as deputy executive director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute program. Sickle is being investigated for his alleged role in a fraud scheme that targeted funds from USAID, which since 2012 has awarded grants worth nearly $77 million to help strengthen treatment programs for HIV/AIDS patients, according to the agency.

A baby in Kenya receives a malaria vaccine. (Karel Prinsloo / Associated Press)

Once a foreign aid recipient, always a foreign aid recipient.

True and false

Critics have contended that foreign aid make nations perpetually needy and unable to break the cycle of dependency.

“Perhaps the largest reason is corruption,” James M. Roberts, a research fellow for economic freedom and growth at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that has called for a scaling back of USAID funding, wrote in a 2014 commentary. “It’s the ‘pre-existing condition’ that keeps many aid recipients from ever recovering. It’s a major obstacle to economic growth.”

Some critics single out Afghanistan, where international aid has become the backbone of its economy, as a likely candidate for dependency on aid. They point to a 2014 report from the the office of special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, which said “evidence strongly suggests that Afghanistan lacks the capacity — financial, technical, managerial or otherwise — to maintain, support and execute much of what has been built or established during more than a decade of international assistance."

But several of America’s key trading partners were once recipients of U.S. aid and today receive limited, if any, assistance from USAID, according to data from the agency. South Korea, for example, has been dubbed by some analysts as “a poster child for successful poverty eradication” and is today itself a donor of humanitarian assistance. USAID calls the Asian nation “a textbook example of aid-recipient-turned donor.”

According to a 2012 report from the Center for Global Development and the Center for American Progress, “nations need not be aid recipients forever.”

“In the 1960s, nations across Latin America and Asia were dismissed as perennial basket cases yet countries in both regions combined sensible reforms with a jump-start from U.S. assistance programs to achieve dynamic, lasting growth,” according to the report.

South Korea, once a recipient of U.S. aid, is today Asia's fourth-largest economy (Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)

Foreign aid has long enjoyed bipartisan support among Republicans and Democrats.

True

In the 1990s, foreign aid bills had a hard time passing through Congress, but that changed with Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, said George Ingram, a senior fellow in the global economy and development program at the Brookings Institution .

Speaking during a “Brookings Cafeteria Podcast” last month, Ingram said the last Congress had passed eight bills supporting foreign aid. After Trump proposed cuts to foreign aid and international diplomacy in his budget, 43 U.S. senators signed a bipartisan letter urging against the reductions.

The U.S. Capitol in Washington, where U.S. foreign aid has long enjoyed bipartisan support. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Foreign aid does more harm than good and is a waste of money.

Depends on whom you ask

Supporters’ arguments include:

— Helping to end maternal and child mortality. At least 4.6 million children and 200,000 mothers are alive today in part because of USAID-funded programs, agency officials said.

— Ensuring that people don’t go hungry. The U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative has helped more than 9 million farmers gain access to new tools or technologies such as high-yielding seeds, fertilizer application, soil conservation and water management, according to USAID.

— Improving reading instruction and creating safe learning environments for more than 41.6 million children from 2011 to 2015.

— Providing access to clean water and sanitation. As of 2015, more than 7.6 million people had received improved access to drinking water and more than 4.3 million people had improved sanitation.

— Helping to stabilize nations by promoting democracy, human rights and good governance around the world.

Detractors counter that:

— U.S. aid shouldn’t go to countries that harbor terrorists who want to harm Americans, such as Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden had taken refuge not far from a Pakistani military compound before U.S. intelligence discovered him there. The U.S. has drastically cut aid to Pakistan in recent years, but the South Asian nation still received $383 million in 2016, according to U.S. government data, and $742,200,000 is planned for Pakistan in fiscal year 2017.

— There is too little accountability for those who abuse U.S. aid through theft or misuse.

— Foreign aid encourages corruption and conflict and stifles the will to pursue free enterprise, because recipients become dependent.

— A saturation of food aid can undermine opportunities for local agricultural markets to develop.

— American money should be spent on aiding Americans, such as the almost 50,000 U.S. veterans who are homeless, according to data from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

For more on global development news, see our Global Development Watch page, and follow me @AMSimmons1 on Twitter


Does the Peace Plan Change My Expectations?

The Abraham Accords come after Trump's Middle East Peace Plan. That plan heavily favored Israel by promising them an undivided Jerusalem and allowed for them to annex the West Bank (like they did the Golan Heights), among other things on their wish list. Some Bible believers say this plan is an "affront to God." This comes up every time a "land for peace" plan is pitched, which many believers consider against the "land deed of the Bible" that Israel has to Palestine. I already wrote about the problem with that thinking and the related one that "God curses those who curse Israel" for those who have that concern about Trump's plan.

So once again the Arab world is not pleased but muted in their response (several, like Egypt and Jordan, receive financial incentives from the US that they don't want to lose). The Palestinians furiously rejected it with rioting, saying "Jerusalem is not for sale!" This fits right in with the pattern I wrote about below of Trump ending the appeasement of the enemies of Israel for the sake of American security concerns.

The new Abraham Accords are with minor players in the Mideast and do not really herald the “dawn of a new Middle East” as Trump has said. Not unless instead of more peace it unintentionally leads to the war that changes the Mideast forever.

The update after Trump's drone strike on Iran's Soleimani and the main article after the US embassy move continues below.

General Qassem Soleimani dead


Remarks by President Trump at the Israel Museum

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s very nice. And thank you to Prime Minister Netanyahu. And I also want to thank Sara for hosting us last night in really a very unforgettable dinner. We had a great time. We talked about a lot of very, very important things. And thank you to Ambassador David Friedman and Mrs. Friedman for joining us, along with a number of very good friends who have come from our country to yours, as we reaffirm the unshakable bond between the United States of America and Israel. Thank you. (Applause.)

I’d like to begin my remarks today by sending the thoughts and prayers of the entire American people to the victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester. You know — you’ve all been watching. You’ve seen just a horrible thing going on. I want to send our condolences to the many families who lost their loved ones. Horrific, horrific injuries. Terrible. Dozens of innocent people, beautiful young children savagely murdered in this heinous attack upon humanity. I repeat again that we must drive out the terrorists and the extremists from our midst, obliterate this evil ideology, and protect and defend our citizens and people of the world. (Applause.)

All civilized nations much be united in this effort. This trip is focused on that goal: bringing nations together around the goal of defeating the terrorism that threatens the world, and crushing the hateful ideology that drives it so hard and seems to be driving it so fast.
It is a privilege to stand here in this national museum, in the ancient city of Jerusalem, to address the Israeli people and all people in the Middle East who yearn for security, prosperity and peace.

Jerusalem is a sacred city. Its beauty, splendor, and heritage are like no other place on Earth. (Applause.) What a heritage. What a heritage. The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. (Applause.) They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel’s white and blue flag.

Yesterday, I visited the Western Wall, and marveled at the monument to God’s presence and man’s perseverance. I was humbled to place my hand upon the wall and to pray in that holy space for wisdom from God. I also visited and prayed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a site revered by Christians throughout the world. I laid a wreath at Yad Vashem, honoring, remembering, and mourning the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. I pledged right then and there what I pledge again today: the words “never again.” (Applause.)
Israel is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people. From all parts of this great country, one message resounds, and that is the message of hope. Down through the ages, the Jewish people have suffered persecution, oppression, and even those who have sought their destruction. But, through it all, they have endured and, in fact, they have thrived. I stand in awe of the accomplishments of the Jewish people, and I make this promise to you: My administration will always stand with Israel. (Applause.) Thank you very much.

Through your hardships, you have created one of the most abundant lands anywhere in the world — a land that is rich not only in history, culture, and opportunity, but especially in spirit. This museum where we are gathered today tells the story of that spirit. From the two Holy Temples, to the glorious heights of Masada, we see an incredible story of faith and perseverance. That faith is what inspired Jews to believe in their destiny, to overcome their despair, and to build here — right here — a future that others dared not even to dream.

In Israel, not only are Jews free to till the soil, teach their children, and pray to God in the ancient land of their fathers — and they love this land, and they love God — but Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience, and to follow their dreams, right here.

Today, gathered with friends, I call upon all people — Jews, Christians, Muslims, and every faith, every tribe, every creed — to draw inspiration from this ancient city, to set aside our sectarian differences, to overcome oppression and hatred, and to give all children the freedom and hope and dignity written into our souls.

Earlier this week, I spoke at a very historic summit in Saudi Arabia. I was hosted by King Salman — a very wise man. There, I urged our friends in the Muslim world to join us in creating stability, safety and security. And I was deeply encouraged by the desire of many leaders to join us in cooperation toward these shared and vital goals.

Conflict cannot continue forever. The only question is when nations will decide that they have had enough — enough bloodshed, enough killing. That historic summit represents a new opportunity for people throughout the Middle East to overcome sectarian and religious divisions, to extinguish the fires of extremism, and to find common ground and shared responsibility in making the future of this region so much better than it is right now.

Change must come from within. It can only come from within. No mother or father wants their children to grow up in a world where terrorists roam free, schoolchildren are murdered, and their loved ones are taken. No child is born with prejudice in their heart. No one should teach young boys and girls to hate and to kill. No civilized nation can tolerate the massacre of innocents with chemical weapons.
My message to that summit was the same message I have for you: We must build a coalition of partners who share the aim of stamping out extremists and violence, and providing our children a peaceful and hopeful future. But a hopeful future for children in the Middle East requires the world to fully recognize the vital role of the State of Israel. (Applause.) And, on behalf of the United States, we pledge to stand by you and defend our shared values so that together we can defeat terrorism and create safety for all of God’s children. (Applause.)

Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence. Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs. Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities where schoolchildren have to be trained to hear the sirens and run to the bomb shelters — with fear, but with speed. ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues, and storefronts. And Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction. Not with Donald J. Trump, believe me. (Applause.) Thank you. I like you too. (Laughter.)

Despite these challenges, Israel is thriving as a sovereign nation, and no international body should question the contributions Israel makes to the region and, indeed, the world. Today, let us pray for that peace and for a more hopeful future across the Middle East.

There are those who present a false choice. They say that we must choose between supporting Israel and supporting Arab and Muslim nations in the region. That is completely wrong. All decent people want to live in peace, and all humanity is threatened by the evils of terrorism. Diverse nations can unite around the goal of protecting innocent life, upholding human dignity, and promoting peace and stability in the region.

My administration is committed to pursuing such a coalition, and we have already made substantial progress during this trip. We know, for instance, that both Israelis and Palestinians seek lives of hope for their children. And we know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis, which has dragged on for nearly half a century or more.

As I have repeatedly said, I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement, and I had a meeting this morning with President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. I know you’ve heard it before. I am telling you — that’s what I do. They are ready to reach for peace.

In my meeting with my very good friend, Benjamin, I can tell you also that he is reaching for peace. He wants peace. He loves people. He especially loves the Israeli people. Benjamin Netanyahu wants peace.

Making peace, however, will not be easy. We all know that. Both sides will face tough decisions. But with determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal.

But even as we work toward peace, we will build strength to defend our nations. The United States is firmly committed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias. (Applause.) So we are telling you right now that Iran will not have nuclear weapons. (Applause.)

America’s security partnership with Israel is stronger than ever. Under my administration, you see the difference — big, big beautiful difference — (laughter and applause) — including the Iron Dome missile defense program, which has been keeping the Israeli people safe from short-range rockets launched by Hezbollah and Hamas, and David’s Sling, which guards against long range missiles. It is my hope that someday, very soon, Israeli children will never need to rush towards shelters again as sirens ring out loud and clear.

Finally, the United States is proud that Israeli Air Force pilots are flying the incredible, new American F-35 planes. (Applause.) There is nothing in the world like them to defend their nation, and it was wonderful to see these mighty aircraft in the skies over Israel recently as you celebrated the 69th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

But even as we strengthen our partnership in practice, let us always remember our highest ideals. Let us never forget that the bond between our two nations is woven together in the hearts of our people, and their love of freedom, hope, and dignity for every man and every woman. Let us dream of a future where Jewish, Muslim, and Christian children can grow up together and live together in trust, harmony, tolerance, and respect.

The values that are practiced in Israel have inspired millions and millions of people all across the world. The conviction of Theodor Herzl rings true today: “Whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will rebound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind.”

As we stand in Jerusalem, we see pilgrims of all faiths coming to this land to walk on this hallowed ground. Jews place the prayers from their hearts in the stone blocks of the beautiful Western Wall. Christians pray in the pews of an ancient church. Muslims answer the call to prayer at their holy sites. This city, like no other place in the world, reveals the longing of human hearts to know and to worship God.

Jerusalem stands as a reminder that life can flourish against any odds. When we look around this city — so beautiful — and we see people of all faiths engaged in reverent worship, and schoolchildren learning side-by-side, and men and women lifting up the needy and forgotten, we see that God’s promise of healing has brought goodness to so many lives. We see that the people of this land had the courage to overcome the oppression and injustice of the past and to live in the freedom God intends for every person on this Earth.

Today, in Jerusalem, we pray and we hope that children around the world will be able to live without fear, to dream without limits, and to prosper without violence. I ask this land of promise to join me to fight our common enemies, to pursue our shared values, and to protect the dignity of every child of God.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the State of Israel. And God bless the United States. Thank you very much. (Applause.)


Israel moves toward coalition deal that could sideline Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party

Jerusalem: The longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, Benjamin Netanyahu, faced the most potent threat yet to his grip on power on Sunday after an ultranationalist power-broker, Naftali Bennett, said his party would work with Opposition leaders to build an alternative government to force Netanyahu from office.

If the manoeuvring leads to a formal coalition agreement, it would be an uneasy alliance between eight relatively small parties with a diffuse range of ideologies. The prime minister’s post would rotate between two unlikely partners: Bennett, a former settler leader who rejects the concept of a sovereign Palestinian State and champions the religious Right — and Yair Lapid, a former television host who is considered a voice of secular centrists.

“I will work with all my power to form a national unity government together with my friend Yair Lapid,” Bennett said in a speech on Sunday night.

He added, “If we succeed, we will be doing something huge for the state of Israel.”

Bennett’s announcement came shortly after an armed conflict with Palestinians in Gaza that many thought had improved Netanyahu’s chances of hanging on to his post.

As a result of the profound ideological differences within the emerging coalition, which would include both leftist and Far-Right members, its leaders have indicated their government would initially avoid pursuing initiatives that could exacerbate their political incompatibility, such as those related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and focus instead on infrastructure and economic policy.

If forced from office, Netanyahu is unlikely to leave politics. Either way, however, he has left a lasting legacy. He shifted the fulcrum of Israeli politics firmly to the right — Bennett’s prominence being a prime example — and presided over the dismantling of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, all while scoring groundbreaking diplomatic agreements with four Arab states, subverting conventional wisdom about Israeli-Arab relations.

By frequently attacking the judiciary and remaining in office while on trial for corruption, Netanyahu also stands accused of undermining central tenets of liberal democracy.

And he is not going without a fight: Immediately after Bennett’s announcement, Netanyahu responded with a speech of his own, calling on right-wing lawmakers within the Opposition alliance to abandon Bennett for his own right-wing bloc.

“This is not unity, healing or democracy,” Netanyahu said. “This is an opportunistic government. A government of capitulation, a government of fraud, a government of inertia. A government like this must not be formed.”

Ideological differences between the Opposition parties were the main reason Bennett waited for so long since a General Election in March to throw his lot in with Lapid. He was under pressure from his own party not to break with Netanyahu’s right-wing and religious alliance, a factor he hinted at in his speech on Sunday.

“This is the most complex decision I’ve made in my life, but I am at peace with it,” Bennett said.

Any agreement reached in the coming days would need to be formally presented to Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, by Wednesday night. It would still then need to be endorsed by a vote in the Knesset, the Hebrew name for the Israeli Parliament.

Under the deal being discussed, Bennett would lead the government first, probably until the fall of 2023, while Lapid would most likely serve as foreign minister, according to two people involved in the negotiations. The pair would then swap roles until a new general election in 2025. Bennett’s party won fewer seats than Lapid’s in a March election, but he holds significant leverage during the negotiations because no government can be formed without him.

Their government would rely on the support of a small Arab Islamist party, Raam, to give it the 61 seats needed to control the 120-seat Parliament. Raam is not likely to play a formal role in the coalition, but is expected to support the new government at the Knesset confidence vote.

Netanyahu would remain as caretaker prime minister until the parliamentary vote.

The negotiations for this coalition were almost derailed by the recent conflict with Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip. That made Bennett leery of forming a government reliant on Raam, which has roots in the same religious stream as the Gaza militants.

If approved, the deal would mark the end of the Netanyahu era — at least for now. Supporters of the proposed coalition hope it could break the deadlock that has stymied government action for more than two years.

Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud party, has been in office since 2009, after an earlier stint from 1996 to 1999. His 15 years in power make him Israel’s longest-serving leader it is one year longer than the combined terms of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.

Near the end of Netanyahu’s tenure, he secured a major diplomatic prize with a set of eye-catching normalisation agreements between Israel and four Arab states. They shattered assumptions that Israel would stabilise its relationship with the Arab world only once it made peace with the Palestinians.

Under Netanyahu, Israel also scored diplomatic victories with the United States: The Trump administration moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem, closed its consulate for Palestinian affairs, shut down the Palestinian mission in the United States, and took a more combative line against Israel’s enemy Iran.

File image of Netanyahu addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York. By Todd Heisler © 2009 The New York Times

But the Israeli-Palestinian peace process collapsed under Netanyahu’s watch, with formal negotiations petering out seven years ago. And tensions with Israel’s Arab minority increased, leading to widespread Arab-Jewish mob violence during the recent conflict.

His government also enacted a law in 2018 that downgraded the status of the Arabic language in Israel and said that only Jews had the right to determine the nature of the Israeli State.

Through an electoral agreement with Far-Right politicians, which ultimately allowed them to enter Parliament, Netanyahu also contributed to a rise in Far-Right influence on public discourse.

And by clinging to power while standing trial on corruption charges, critics said, he undercut the rule of law and undermined democratic norms — all while being unable to give his full attention to governing, distracted as he was by such a serious court case.

Netanyahu has denied the charges and defended his right to clear his name without leaving office.

The case, and the polarising effect it has had on the Israeli electorate, played a major role in Israel’s political instability over the past four years.

Netanyahu’s decision to stay in office divided voters less by political belief than by their attitude toward him.

In particular, it split the Israeli Right, and made it harder for both Netanyahu and his opponents to form a working majority.

That led to four inconclusive elections in two years, each of which ended with no faction being big enough to win power alone. The deadlock left the country without a state budget, among other problems.

A desire to avoid a fifth election was a primary reason behind Bennett’s decision, he said. “It is either a fifth election or a unity government,” he said.

After the first two elections in 2019, Netanyahu was left in charge as a caretaker prime minister. After the third vote, in March 2020, he formed a government of national unity with his main rival, Benny Gantz, a shaky deal that collapsed last December when the two factions failed to agree on a state budget.

A similar deadlock initially emerged after the most recent election in April. Rivlin, the president, granted Netanyahu, whose party finished first, an initial mandate to try to form a governing coalition. But he failed after a far-right group refused to enter a coalition reliant on Raam, which holds the balance of power.

That gave Lapid — whose centrist party, Yesh Atid, or There Is a Future, came in second — the chance to form a government instead. His efforts were initially stymied by the outbreak of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, which prompted his likely coalition partner, Bennett, to back out of coalition talks.

But a ceasefire made it easier for the pair to restart negotiations, leading to the move on Sunday.

Lapid, 57, is a former broadcaster who entered politics in 2012 and served as finance minister under Netanyahu in 2013.

He was best known for moves to reshape a welfare system that gives money to devout Jewish men who study religious texts instead of seeking paid employment. Subsequent administrations reversed most of Lapid’s changes.

During the campaign, Lapid, 57, pledged to preserve checks and balances and protect the judiciary.

Bennett, 49, is a former Israeli army commando and software entrepreneur. He lives in Israel, but once led the Yesha Council, an umbrella group representing Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

Until January, his party was in a formal alliance with Bezalel Smotrich, a Far-Right leader. Bennett opposes Palestinian statehood and favours formally annexing large parts of the West Bank.


The 1995 Law Behind President Trump's Plan to Move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

E very six months for more than two decades, U.S. presidents have had to decide all over again whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since the Clinton administration, they decided each time to keep the embassy where it is, seeking not to throw a wrench into delicate Middle East peace talks. On Tuesday, however, after signing a waiver putting off the move in June, President Donald Trump informed the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas that he’s going to recognize the contested holy city as Israel’s capital and begin the process of moving the embassy there.

That decision, which experts fear will spark unrest throughout the Arab world, represents the conclusion of a process that began in 1995, with the passage of that year’s Jerusalem Embassy Act. The law required the U.S. to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by a set deadline, but conceded that the move could be put off for six months at a time as long as the President “determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.”

The reasons why such a waiver might be needed are not much different today than they were in 1995.

That May, TIME reported in the international edition that, though both the Clinton Administration and Israeli government “support the move to Jerusalem in principle, they would prefer to see the peace process more stabilized before confronting the explosive issue of Jerusalem.” The effort led by Senate majority leader Bob Dole to make the move mandatory came “at a particularly raw moment,” the magazine added. Here’s how TIME described the many years of political history that led up to that point:

The city’s status has been an open question for decades. The intent of the U.N., when it voted in 1947 to partition what was then British-administered Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, was to put Jerusalem under an international regime. But after the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, newly born Israel controlled the western portion of the city and Jordan the east. In the 1967 war Israel captured the eastern sector and annexed it. No country, however, recognizes Israel’s hold there. The Arab states insist on Arab sovereignty over at least East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want to make the capital of their hoped-for future state.

As Trump did, President Bill Clinton also came into office calling for the embassy to eventually be moved to Jerusalem, even as he actively worked to kill Dole’s bill. “From a policy perspective, this debate was happening shortly after the celebrated Taba Agreement wherein Israel and the Palestinians had just agreed on interim governance arrangements for the West Bank and Gaza,” Foreign Policy has observed. “Hope was high that this momentum would lead to a lasting peace, and the Clinton administration argued that a ‘premature focus on Jerusalem’ could ‘undermine negotiations and complicate the chances for peace[.]’&rdquo


For Netanyahu, like Trump, only ‘fraud’ can explain his defeat

hen President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they participate in an Abraham Accords signing ceremony at the White House in Washington on Sept 15, 2020. The New York Times

For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel is witnessing “the greatest election fraud in the history of the country.” For Donald Trump, defeat last November was “the crime of the century.” The two men’s language overlaps, it seems, because their overwhelming sense of invincibility is confounded by democratic process.

Naftali Bennett, a right-wing nationalist, will take office as Israel’s prime minister Sunday, if approved by parliament, but Netanyahu’s raging assault on his likely successor shows no sign of relenting. He has said there is a “deep state” conspiracy.

Netanyahu accuses Bennett of conducting a “fire sale on the country.” A “government of capitulation” awaits Israel after a “stolen” election, he says. As for the media, it is supposedly trying to silence him through “total fascism.”

Although it appears that a peaceful democratic transition in Israel will take place, nothing is certain.

Attacks by Netanyahu’s Likud party on Bennett’s small Yamina party have been so vicious that some Yamina politicians have needed security details. Idit Silman, a Yamina representative in the Knesset, or parliament, said in an interview on Channel 13 TV that a demonstrator outside her home had told her he was pained by what her family was going through, “but don’t worry, at the first chance we get, we’ll slaughter you.”

The apotheosis of Netanyahu’s whatever-it-takes methods has left violence in the air. The events of Jan. 6 in the United States, when a Trump-incited mob stormed the Capitol, are not far from Israelis’ minds.

“Over a dozen years, Mr. Netanyahu convinced himself that anyone else ruling Israel would constitute an existential threat,” said Dahlia Scheindlin, a political analyst. “His strong-arm tactics present a direct challenge to a peaceful transition of power.”

Division and fear have been Netanyahu’s preferred political tools and like America, Israel is split, to the point that the head of Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, warned a few days ago of “extremely violent and inciting discourse.” It was an unusual warning.

The police have said they will not allow a nationalist march that had been scheduled Thursday through Muslim-majority areas of Jerusalem’s Old City, but feelings over it are running high among right-wing politicians after the original Jerusalem Day march last month was cancelled because of Hamas rocket fire.

Netanyahu’s security Cabinet decided Tuesday to reschedule the march, on a route to be agreed with the police, for next Tuesday, June 15. Netanyahu sees the march as an important symbol of Israeli sovereignty.

To hold the march would be playing with fire, as the short war with Hamas last month demonstrated. The issue, it appears, will now fall to the Bennett government to resolve.

No evidence has been produced to back claims that Bennett’s prospective new government is anything but the legitimate product of Israel’s free and fair March election, the fourth since 2019 as Netanyahu, indicted on bribery and fraud charges, has scrambled to preserve power.

Netanyahu calls Bennett’s tenuous eight-party coalition, ranging from far-right to left wing parties, a “dangerous” leftist government. But it is not the left that defeated the prime minister.

It is politicians on the right like Bennet and Gideon Saar, the prospective justice minister, who became convinced that Netanyahu had become a threat to Israeli democracy.

Alluding to the mass suicide at Masada of Jews who refused to submit to the Roman yoke, Bennett said in a speech explaining his decision to head an alternative government that Netanyahu “wants to take with him the entire national camp and the entire country to his own private Masada.”

It was an extraordinary image, especially from Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, and it captured the growing impression among many Israelis that the prime minister was determined, at whatever price, to leverage political survival into stopping the criminal process against him.

“He should have quit when the indictment came out in 2019,” said Yuval Shany, a law professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and former dean of its Law School. “Any reasonable politician would have stepped down. Instead, he went full throttle against the judiciary. In the end it seemed his main political aim was arriving at an immunity from prosecution arrangement.”

In other words, the personal — staying out of jail — had become paramount for Netanyahu. So much so that he was prepared to erode core institutions of the rule of law and democracy, like the Supreme Court, an independent judiciary and a free press. In this sense, the outbursts of recent days have been a culmination rather than a departure.

“He became a politician who would go to any lengths, without limits,” Shany said.

He had prominent company. Netanyahu, whose unpredicted 2015 electoral victory gave him a new sense of being all-powerful, formed close bonds with Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, and with Trump. He was drawn to leaders across the world intent on centralizing power in new, illiberal models.

What Netanyahu needed, through all those Israeli elections, was a majority strong enough to change Israel’s Basic Law to make prosecution of a prime minister in office impossible, and to take from the Supreme Court the power to strike such legislation down.

He never quite got that majority.

“There’s no doubt he wanted to narrow and minimise the authority of judicial review of the Supreme Court over both Knesset legislation and the administrative decisions of government bodies,” said Yohanan Plesner, the president of the Israel Democracy Institute. “But the checks and balances of our young democracy are intact.”

Those checks and balances are likely to get Israel to Sunday and a democratic change in government. But Israel, unlike the United States, is a parliamentary rather than a presidential democracy. Netanyahu will not disappear to some sunny retreat beside a golf course. As chairman of Likud, he will wield considerable power.

“He is not going away, and he will not be quiet,” said Merav Michaeli, the leader of the Labour Party, a member of the new coalition. “And it will take a long time to repair the damage.”

The incoming government is reviewing legislation that would set a two-term limit for a prime minister and oblige anyone who has led the country for eight years to spend four years out of the Knesset. It signals how Israeli democracy has been jolted by Netanyahu’s total of 15 years in power.

Nir Orbach, one of the members of Bennett’s right-wing party who has come under withering attack from Likud and been pressured to change his mind about supporting the new coalition, posted an explanation of his thinking on Facebook:

“It is not a simple decision, but it is obligated by the reality of life in which we get up every morning, over 700 days of governmental instability, in a civil crisis, in a violent discourse, in a sense of chaos, on the brink of civil war.”

The post was as good an expression of Israeli exhaustion at Netanyahu’s contorted fight for survival as any.

Michaeli said: “Netanyahu has been eroding Israel’s democracy for a very long time.” Alluding to the 1995 killing of Yitzhak Rabin, she continued: “Remember, we had a prime minister assassinated here. We are in an ongoing fight for the character and soul of Israel. But we will prevail.”

The next few days will test that assertion. Bennett urged Netanyahu to “let go” and abandon his “scorched earth” policy. But to expect a gracious exit from the prime minister appears as far-fetched as was expecting it from the American president who also claimed that defeat could only be theft.


Alan Jackson to Release New 21-Song Album “Where Have You Gone”

The long wait for new music from Alan Jackson will soon be over. After nearly six years since his last release Angels & Alcohol in July of 2015, Alan Jackson has unveiled a new project called Where Have You Gone to be released on May 14th, and with 21 songs, he’s more than making up for lost time.

Along with the announcement, three new songs have been released: “Where Have You Gone” mourning the evaporation of country in country music, “Things That Matter,” and “Way Down In My Whiskey.” You can listen to them below.

Where Have You Gone will also include numerous personal songs. Jackson has three daughters: Mattie Denise, Alexandra “Ali” Jane, and Dani Grace. Two songs were specifically written for the weddings of his daughters in “You’ll Always Be My Baby” and “I Do.” Alan Jackson’s mother also died since he last released music. Ruth Musick “Mama Ruth” Jackson passed away in 2017 at the age of 86, and Alan tributes her in the song “Where Her Heart Has Always Been” written for her funeral. The track also includes his mom reading from The Bible.

Alan Jackson also tributes the late great Merle Haggard with a rendition of “That’s The Way Love Goes,” recorded by The Hag in 1983 as a title track to his album. Originally written by Lefty Frizzell and Sanger “Whitey” Shafer, the song was also a #1 for Johnny Rodriguez, and was covered by Connie Smith as well.

And the album is rounded out with the song “The Older I Get,” which Alan Jackson recorded and released in 2017 ahead of his Country Music Hall of Fame induction. Hailey Whitters, Adam Wright, and Sarah Allison Turner are the writers. “This song reflects a lot of how I feel these days,” Alan Jackson said.

All songs written by Alan Jackson except where noted.

1. Where Have You Gone
2. Wishful Drinkin’
3. I Can Be Something
4. Where The Cottonwood Grows
5. Way Down In My Whiskey
6. Things That Matter (Michael White & Robert Keith Stegall)
7. Livin’ On Empty
8. You’ll Always Be My Baby
9. Where Her Heart Has Always Been
10. The Boot (Adam Wright)
11. Back
12. Write It In Red
13. So Late So Soon (Scotty Emerick, Daniel Tashian & Sarah Buxton)
14. This Heart Of Mine ( Adam Wright)
15. A Man Who Never Cries
16. Chain
17. I Was Tequila
18. I Do
19. That’s The Way Love Goes (Whitey Shafer & Lefty Frizzell)
20. Beer: 10
21. The Older I Get (Adam Wright, Hailey Whitters & Sarah Turner)


Watch the video: PELI Helping Staff Engage in Preference-Based Care Webinar 5 17 2017 (July 2022).


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