Pollard Returns to Israel

Israeli politicians are jockeying for position in the March 2021 general elections. Moshe Ya’alon has split from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and will run under his Telem party. Lapid tweeted regarding the move, saying “I value and respect Moshe Ya’alon very much and wish him luck.” Reports say that Ya’alon and Lapid were unable to come to terms on leadership roles within Yesh Atid. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Former science and technology minister Izhar Shay, who recently quit Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party, announced he was joining Ya’alon’s party. Doctors Union chief Hagai Levine is also joining Telem. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Meanwhile, Gideon Sa’ar, a former Netanyahu protégé who split from the Likud last year, accused Netanyahu of overseeing “a focused attack on all of the institutions of the state.” He vowed to prevent the kind of assault on democracy seen in the United States last week, referring to the assault on the U.S. capital by protesters. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Former justice minister Avi Nissenkorn said events at the U.S. capitol show that democracy is “fragile,” warning that Israel’s democracy was in an even more precarious state than in the U.S. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz plans to stay in the fight in the March 2021 general elections, despite defections from his Blue and White party. Many members of the party, however, say Gantz must step down if the party is to have any future. Poll numbers for Gantz and Blue and White have been plunging. Reported by France24. Read more… Recent polls show that Likud is regaining lost ground ahead of the election, but still falls short of achieving a majority needed to form a new government. Reported by Times of Israel. Read more…

Israel says that two million Israelis will have received a two-dose Covid-19 vaccine by the end of January. Israel launched an aggressive campaign to administer the vaccine to Israelis in mid-December. Reported by France24. Read more… A new shipment of the Pfizer vaccine containing hundreds of thousands of doses has arrived in Israel. Reported by i24 News. Read more… On January 7, Netanyahu announced a deal with Pfizer to supply millions of doses of the vaccine to Israel. Netanyahu called it a “tremendous breakthrough” and said Israel would be the first country to inoculate all citizens by the end of March. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Jonathan Pollard has returned to Israel, where he and his wife were granted immediate citizenship. Pollard, a former navy intelligence analyst, spent 30-years in prison for selling U.S. military secrets to Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met them at the airport when they arrived. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon says that he hopes president-elect Joe Biden will “continue the momentum” created by President Trump’s peace initiative. Danon told Fox News that Trump’s initiative was not only good for Israel and the modern Arab countries, but also good for the U.S. Reported by Fox News. Read more…