News from August 3 to August 9

Israel's budget, Beirut blast, and honorable mentions

Hey everyone! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, or concerns at If you need good Jewish/Israeli shows or movies, make sure to check out this newsletter. I have been extremely busy this week, so I’m going to have to do this week’s news in a shorter format.

Netanyahu said to back budget delay, in move that would avert election:

Why is this important? As you may recall, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz are in the midst of a contentious governing dispute over whether to sign a one-year or two-year budget. The stakes are high; according to their coalition deal, if they can’t agree on a budget by August 25, the Knesset will disperse, and Israel will go to another election later this year. Various reports have speculated that Netanyahu wants an election because it would potentially allow him to regain control over the Justice Ministry (which he ceded to Gantz’s Blue and White party in their coalition deal) before his trial is set to begin in earnest in the spring. Others have suggested Netanyahu wants a new election to prevent Gantz from becoming Prime Minister next year. Either way, he could essentially call new elections by failing to come to an agreement with Gantz by August 25. If it is true that Netanyahu is willing to push back the budget deadline, Israel may be able to avoid its fourth election in three years.

Israel offers aid to Lebanon after Beirut’s massive explosion:

What happened? After a fire in a warehouse in Beirut set off an enormous explosion that made nearly 300,000 people homeless, Israel was among the countries that offered to send humanitarian assistance. Israel’s offer is consistent with its long-held policy of providing humanitarian aid to countries around the world after catastrophes. Still, this overture is significant because Israel and Lebanon are technically at war, and tensions with Lebanon are high after Hezbollah militants attempted to infiltrate Israel last week. Tel Aviv’s city hall also displayed the Lebanese flag with its lights, though some Israelis criticized the move as treasonous. Regardless, it’s refreshing to see people valuing shared humanity over political conflict.

Tel Aviv City Hall. Source: Miriam Alster/Flash90 via TOI

Updates on last week’s news:

Seth Rogen: As if the situation was not already complicated enough, Rogen said in an interview last week that Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog had misrepresented his words, and he had not apologized for what he had said. However, he also acknowledged that he should have been more sensitive in the way he talked about Israel on the podcast. Read more about his latest interview here

Attack on Israel’s border with Syria: The most recent reports indicate that the militants were members of a Syrian pro-Iran militia, but they were not members of Hezbollah. 

Honorable Mentions:

A Jewish Guide to Joe Biden’s VP Short List by Gabe Friedman and Ron Kampeas (JTA) (This is a good read because Joe Biden is likely to announce his running mate this week)

Trump antagonizes GOP megadonor Adelson in heated phone call by Alex Isenstadt (Politico)

Jewish educator’s ‘Yo Semite’ T-shirt back in spotlight following Trump gaffe by Esther Kustanowitz (JTA)

Trump’s Germany ambassador pick under fire from Jewish groups for statements on immigrants and Nazi history by Ron Kampeas (JTA)

What Seth Rogen’s new movie gets right and wrong about the history of pickling by Chana Pollack and PJ Grisar (Forward)

A USC student leader resigns amid accusations that her Zionism ‘made her complicit in racism’ by Michael Janofsky (Forward)

Stop calling anti-Zionism anti-Semitic. It’s morally repugnant in its own way By Shany Mor (Forward)