Category Archives: COVID-19

NOT IN THE NEWS

BLOG  504

February 1, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

NOT IN THE NEWS

American politics and the COVID-19-virus captured the headlines sending Middle East events off  the back page. Nevertheless, important happenings keep coming. They are worth noting. Here’s a couple you’ll find important.

We haven’t heard much from Egypt lately as the riots and protests have disappeared. The surviving government of al-Sisi has been busy covering up the “Arab Spring” uprisings. The city square where the mobs gathered has been revamped with a large ancient obelisk placed in the center. The actual government and legislature are now being moved twenty-miles away from Cairo virtually out in the desert supposedly for more convenient access. Actually, it takes control away from possible radical attack.

It’s been several years since I was in Cairo. The metropolis is enormous with poverty.  Still the ancient municipality is an important factor in the Arab world. My guess is that the relocation of the government is for more secure away from Cairo insurgents.

In a recent blog, I reported that the attack that killed Iran’s top nuclear scientists would not go unanswered. My blog stated that the response would be less than a war and probably more like an attack on an embassy. Such happened this week.

The Blast outside Israel’s New Delhi embassy damaged cars. Nobody was hurt in the explosion apparently caused by a small improvised device. Israeli authorities treating it as a suspected terror attack aimed at the embassy and are stepping up security precautions at missions around the world. The Israeli ambassador said,  “The assessment is that this was an attempted attack aimed at the embassy this evening,” Ambassador Ron Malka added that the blast went off “a few dozen meters from the embassy walls. The district around the embassy was sealed off after the explosion and police and bomb disposal experts took over the scene.

The New Delhi Television news channel said the explosive device had ball bearings wrapped in a plastic bag and was left on the pavement outside the embassy. CNN India reported that police had found an envelope near the scene with the words “For Israel Embassy” on it. The report said police were not divulging the content of a letter inside.

A message was passed from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Israel has “full confidence that Indian authorities will successfully investigate the incident and protect Israelis and Jews there,” the Prime Minister’s Office responded.

Does that take care of a “pay-back” from Iran?  Probably not.

Hosted by Rev. Wise, PhD — Interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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HAPPY NEW YEAR — I THINK?

BLOG  500

January 1, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

HAPPY NEW YEAR — I THINK?

A month ago, Mr. Trump said he saw light at the end of the tunnel. Turned out it was the headlights on a freight train bearing down at 100 mph. Everyone hopes for a better year than 2020, but the signs aren’t promsing. Half the country thinks the election was manipulated and the other half doesn’t trust the Republicans. I’d suggest that we quit listening to the politicians and pay attention to the signs of the time. The economy is not good for many and in January it will probably get worse. The pandemic is a hoax so don’t wear a mask? Really? Two days ago, we had the second corvid related death in our family and our granddaughter is still recovering after a three-week bout with the virus. Keep your seatbelts fastened. Looks like a bumpy road ahead.

In the middle east? With the civil war in Syria and the struggles in surrounding countries, three outside powers have moved in. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are formidable presences. Mr. Trump told Turkey “to come on down” and they now occupy much of northern Syria. Russia is parked on the country’s west coast. Iran’s military is camping out in the hinterlands. In other words, the Arabs that were angry and poor have now been invaded. Sounds like the so-called Arab spring has turned into winter and a blizzard is coming.

Things aren’t great in Israel either. The pandemic has forced more shut-downs. Over a million Israelis have just been vaccinated and that’s hope, but Arabs are way behind on vaccinations. Netanyahu got out flanked and is facing another election (which no citizen wants). He faces an uphill battle in the courtroom in February. While many Israelis don’t like him, he remains the heavyweight surrounded by lightweights. Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party is falling apart, and fast. The party, which currently holds 14 parliamentary seats, was predicted, according to a poll released on Friday, for the first time not to make it into the next Knesset at all.  The question currently being discussed in Israel is whether Netanyahu will pull the rabbit out of the hat or go down for the count. Expect political turmoil in Israel in the days ahead.

Hey, I’m not trying to sound like Ebenezer Scrooge, neither do I want to come off like Pollyanna. We pray for the best on New Years eve and wake up on January 2 to the facts.  I believe you can safely bet on some hard times ahead.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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REASONS TO BE THANKFUL

BLOG  496

NOVEMBER 30, 2020

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

REASONS TO BE THANKFUL

Yes, it’s been a hard year. On this Thanksgiving Weekend, many, many families will be aware that there is an empty chair at their table. The COVID-19 virus has certainly taken a toll.  Many businesses are closed never to reopen.  Cars line up across town at Food Banks because personal funds have run out. Politics and political differences have split the country down the middle to the degree that you can’t have a conversation with many people without the roof getting blown off.

And yet ….

On this weekend, we pause to remember our blessings.  We are a country that provides food for the hungry and hospital beds for the sick. Even a volatile political campaign will be followed by a peaceful transition. Even with political differences, we live in a country where we can express our opinions. Hey, vaccines are on the way. With the dawn of another year, new possibilities will appear.

Miracles still going on? Yes, they are. Possibilities out there? Multitudes! Even if we struggle, we bend the knee to thank our heavenly Father for His eternal love. Not hopeful thinking… just the facts. We still live in a land of promise and have the freedom to continue on. Yes, we have much to be grateful for.

Thank we all our God.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Elections, World

MEET MEA SHEARIM

BLOG  490

October 19,  2020

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

MEET MEA SHEARIM

During my first visit to Israel I walked down the streets of probably the oldest section of Jerusalem. Long before the state was proclaimed in 1948, Mea Shearim had few tourists and was the foremost Orthodox section in the city. Strolling down the street felt like entering a time warp where the most traditional Hassidic groups called home.

It appears that the quarrel over masks has now landed in Mea Shearim.

The very public and contemptuous refusal of a substantial minority of Israel’s 12 percent ultra-Orthodox community to honor the governing authorities’ rules and restrictions in the battle against COVID-19 defies explanation.  They are placing their own lives and others in danger. But still more inexplicably, if that’s even possible, they are contradicting the values they say they most revere and hold sacred. In so doing, they are committing hillul haShem, desecrating the Lord’s name.

Ultra-Orthodox Judaism builds higher fences to protect the would-be faithful from the challenges, temptations and pollutants of our flawed human nature. And yet this substantial minority is willfully costing lives, showing contempt for others, and reveling in it.

Judaism at its core is about the sanctity of life. Humanity was created by the Lord in His image. To save a life is to save the world. Acting morally is sanctifying the Lord’s name.

The grim, unavoidable conclusion is that this minority, amid its emphasis on full-time study of our holy texts, its unthinking fealty to its leaders, its focus on raising the fences ever higher, has lost sight of Judaism’s precious core; the very humanity and morality the ultra-Orthodox approach is intended to elevate.

The result is catastrophic for all of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, marked by its distinctive appearance. They are inevitably all lumped in together with its most extreme elements; and for all of Jewry.

Israel has long suffered intra-Jewish frictions, between the secular and Orthodox Jewish mainstream. This is a function of the deep entanglement of religion and state, with ultra-Orthodox politicians at the heart of most of the governing coalitions. Most ultra-Orthodox youths neither serve in the IDF nor perform alternative national service They live at least partly at the expense of the state and its taxpayers, while simultaneously denouncing them and in extreme cases even consorting with our enemies.

How does one explain not wearing masks to save others under these circumstances? Beats me.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Jews, Judaism, World

THE SUMMER OF DISCONTENT IN ISRAEL

BLOG 482
August 310 2020

protests

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

THE SUMMER OF DISCONTENT IN ISRAEL

Everywhere one looks struggle, confusion, and despondency prevail. With American elections coming up, the TV viewer is berouged by negative and often lying political commercials. Are Americans alone in this quagmire? Afraid not. Look at public opinion in Israel.

The danger to democracy looms larger than security threat, poll says; majority see Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus as ‘poor’ and most oppose new elections. Israelis perceive the threat to the nation’s democracy as looming larger than the external security threat, according to an Israeli survey published Wednesday.

The Israel Democracy Institute survey found that only 38 percent of the respondents felt optimistic about the future of democratic governance in Israel, with 54% pessimistic. This compared to 59% who are optimistic about national security, with 35% pessimistic. Just over half (51%) give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “poor” or “not good” grade for his personal and ethical behavior. Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and for accepting bribes. A slightly lower number of respondents, 45%, said his performance handling the coronavirus crisis and running the government was “not good” or “poor.”

During the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a majority of interviewees expressed high trust in Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis. Today, with a second wave of the outbreak shaking the nation, only a minority gave him a grade of “good” or “excellent” in that domain: 27% for Jews and 18% for Arabs, the report on the survey said. Netanyahu’s handling of the nation’s security policy is, however, still approved by most, with 56% of respondents giving him a grade of “good” or “excellent.

Amid recent chatter about the possibility of the coalition breaking apart, the data shows that the majority of voters from all parties oppose new elections, with right-wing voters wanting it the least, the report said.. The data showed that only 25% of Jewish Israelis and 43% Arab Israelis support dismantling the current government and going to new elections at the end of 2020.

You can’t make everybody happy, but Israel is certainly filled with plenty who aren’t positive or content. Where will it all go? Stay tuned.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

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ISRAEL; EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

BLOG 479
July 20, 2020

question

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ISRAEL; EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

For the last month, I’ve been exploring the implications of the impending annexation of 30% of the West Bank by Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu grabbed President Trump’s coattails and announced on July 1, he would begin seizure of the land in the area of Judea and Samaria. The world reacted negatively, both inside and outside of Israel.

Guess what? Suddenly the grab is gone. What’s happening?

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin has acknowledged in private conversations that no attention is currently being given in Washington to the Israeli plans to annex, according to a Tuesday Army Radio report. As a result, Levin reportedly said, the controversial move will likely have to be placed on the back burner as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not move forward without coordinating with the Trump administration. The US administration’s attention is elsewhere, the report claimed Levin had said, and “it is not listening” when it comes to annexation.

While similar comments have been made in recent weeks by Likud officials who have acknowledged that the spiraling pandemic has forced the attention of world leaders to turn to other issues, Levin is one of only a handful of Israeli officials who have been deeply involved in talks with American officials regarding the Trump plan’s implementation and ramifications.

Levin also sits on the seven-member joint US-Israeli mapping committee that has been tasked with drawing up the exact parameters for annexation that Washington would be willing to accept. The committee’s progress has been slowed by the pandemic, with Netanyahu telling settler leaders that the maps have yet to be finalized. Settler leaders responded angrily to Tuesday’s Army Radio report, asserting that US approval is not needed for Israel to move forward with annexation. “There is no need to wait for anyone. This move depends solely on us. It is time to keep the promises made and apply [Israeli] sovereignty [to the West Bank] regardless of any factor.”

There you have the latest. All of Netanyahu’s huff and puff about annexation went up in political smoke. Israel really depends on American politics to that extent? You bet.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Gaza, Israel, The Middle East, Trump

GOOD NEWS FROM ISRAEL

BLOG 478
July 13, 2020

covid-19

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

GOOD NEWS FROM ISRAEL

I swore I’d never write anything about the coronavirus pandemic. Every time I turn on the International and national news, I am flooded with the head count and stories of all kinds about the virus problem. I figure everybody is saturated with the updates.

Then I discovered a really important story from Jerusalem. You’ll want to know about this breakthrough.

Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem suburb has discovered what appears to be the reason why infected patients become so crucially ill with the virus. They now have a way to treat the problem before it is too late.

Israeli scientists discovered that 30% of the infected develop blood clots that block the flow of blood to the kidneys, heart, and brain as well as the lungs. These clots create an increased level of alpha defensin protein in the person. When persons with a low response develop the infection, they have a low level of this protein, but it increases as their disease expands. Persons, who die, have a very high level of this particular protein.

The alpha defensin protein causes a speed up in the clotting process which can cause pulmonary embolism which results in heart attacks and strokes. Clotting can also result in the area where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide and respiratory distress develops with eventual intubation. The Hadassah studies found 80% of the casualties from the virus had this problem.

They are beginning to conclude that the drug colchicine can treat this condition. The drug has been previously used to treat gout and has been used on mice to verify its effectiveness. They now believe this drug can bring improvement in the most severe cases of coronavirus. Their studies found that the usual blood-thinning drugs on the current market do not fully address the virus problem. Hopeful what the scientists have discovered about the effectiveness of colchicine will correct the problem.

Good news! The first good news I’ve heard to date about stopping the virus causing deaths.

Hey! Interested in Miracles happening today?
For 3 years I have interviewed people with such experiences
Read about the results
MIRACLES NEVER CEASE
A blog by Robert L. Wise

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Israel, The Middle East, World

ANNEXATION HEATS UP!

BLOG 475
June 15, 2020

palestine-gaza-strip

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ANNEXATION HEATS UP!

The idea of annexing part of Palestinian land has been pushed off the front page by concerns about the virus and the protests over the death of George Floyd. Not so in Israel! Taking advantage of urging by President Donald Trump, Netanyahu continues to pursue the idea. However, the response in Israel has been tense.

Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday evening to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to begin annexing parts of the West Bank next month. Some called his idea a war crime. Police initially sought to block the rally but backtracked Friday after meeting with organizers, who urged participants to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Dozens of officers were securing the demonstration after police said attendance would be capped at 2,000, though the Haaretz Daily put the turnout at 6,000 people in what appeared to be the largest protest in the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of course, the Palestinians are not happy. Announced at the end of January in Washington, US President Donald Trump’s peace plan provides for the annexation by Israel of 30 percent of the West Bank — covering all the settlements and the Jordan Valley — with conditional provisions for a Palestinian state in the rest of the territory, including some areas on the outskirts of East Jerusalem. The Palestinians have rejected the US plan in its entirety.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex the 132 settlements, home to some 450,000 Israelis, next month, and the rest of the territory allocated to Israel soon after, subject to American approval.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the Palestinians were hoping that Netanyahu would not go ahead with his annexation plan. He called annexation an “existential threat” that would mark the “total erosion of our national aspirations.” The PA’ has submitted a counter plan that calls for the creation of a “sovereign Palestinian state, independent and demilitarized” with “minor modifications of borders where necessary.” The Palestinian text foresaw possible land swaps between the two future states on a like-for-like basis, he said at a press conference. Shtayyeh declined to provide further details about the the 4 1/2-page proposal but said the Palestinian position on major issues is well-known.

What’s next? Sounds like Netanyahu is plowing ahead. Regardless.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, COVID-19, Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

ISRAELI MISSILES!

BLOG 469
April 27, 2020

wmd

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ISRAELI MISSILES!

Let’s take a break from Israeli political turmoil and another report on the corona virus (as if we needed ANOTHER discussion of that) and look at a new discovery just released to the public. As you already know, for some time Hezbollah has been camped in Lebanon with rockets ready to fire at Israel. At the south, the Gaza strip has constantly shot rockets at southern Israeli communities. While Iran is a greater distance away, they have made no bones about wanting to drop the Big Bomb on Israel.

Guided missiles have also played a part in the Syrian civil war. While America has been backing out of Syria, the Russians have been forging ahead with dreams of turning Syria into a type of satellite country. Russia has not hesitated to add to the stockpile of weapons. How can Israel protect itself?

The Israeli Defense Ministry (IDF) has made a breakthrough in using lasers to intercept rocket and anti-tank guided missiles. Defense Minister Natali Bennett said recently, “we will add a laser sword when dealing with threats from the North or the South.”

For ten years, the IDF has been working on this weapon with a capacity to wipe out a number of types of weapons, including mortars, drones, anti-tank missiles as well as the bombardment from the sky. The system is based on high-energy electric lasers rather than chemical laser technology and is far more effective. However, this new weapon will be used along with the current “Iron Drome” defensive system that has proved highly effective in stopping attacks on Tel Aviv. While the old system costs thousands of dollars for a single shot, the new laser system only costs a few for the same.

Like something from a James Bond movie, the new system cannot be heard or seen. Quite a step forward!

With threats from neighboring countries always being a problem, Israel has zoomed ahead in the production of armaments that has made them the predominant country in the Middle East. When one considers the size of Israelbeing so much smaller than any of the surrounding countries, the new anti-missile system marks another amazing accomplishment.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Elections, Gaza, Israel, The Middle East

THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS Part 5 – Will this go on forever?

BLOG 468
April 20, 2020

israel-election

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS
Part 5 – Will this go on forever?

If you think you’ve seen it all… just keep looking at Israeli politics. My favorite description of Jewish thought is, “two Jews, three opinions” That’s where they still are in trying to form a new government in light of three previous elections that provided nothing. Here’s the latest.

After talks on Gantz’s side failed to produce government by Wednesday night deadline, President Reuven Rivlin says he hopes the legislature can choose a person to form a coalition. Rivlin gives Knesset 21 days to agree on the Prime Minister it wants, or go to new election

President Rivlin informed Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz on Thursday morning that his mandate to form a government had ended, after the Blue and White party leader failed to present a government to the parliament by Wednesday night’s midnight deadline.

Rivlin announced earlier this week he would not hand the mandate to Gantz’s rival, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, but would trigger the start of the 21-day period during which the entire Knesset as a whole may select a candidate to form a government. Under Israel’s Basic Law, if the Knesset fails to agree on a candidate in the allotted three weeks, the government is automatically dissolved and new elections are called. If a candidate does secure 61 votes, that person has 14 additional days to form a government before an election must be called. Revlin chose not to give Netanyahu another 28 days in which to attempt to negotiate a government himself, as he could have done under the law. The move was widely seen as intended to force Netanyahu and Gantz to stop dithering and seal a unity deal quickly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision Thursday marks only the second time in Israel’s history that the mandate to form a governing coalition was handed to the Knesset. The first time was after the September 2019 race. Both Netanyahu and Gantz have reportedly expressed a willingness to go to a fourth election, even as the nation remains under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Can you believe it? Consider what it would be like in America to have three national elections without producing a winner. Run chills up your back.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Elections, Israel, The Middle East