Breifing: Liberman, Trump and fascism

May 22, 2016

This week, in a dramatic turnaround, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck a coalition deal with Yisrael Beytenu, giving its leader Avigdor Liberman the defense portfolio. The serving defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, resigned even before the deal was finalized, and said he was taking a break from politics altogether, despite Netanyahu offering him the foreign ministry.

In his resignation speech, Ya’alon, a former stalwart Netanyahu ally warned of “manifestations of extremism, violence and racism” in Israeli society and its institutions.

Former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak echoed the comments, saying that Netanyahu "is exhibiting signs of fascism."

Ya’alon’s departure from the Knesset paves the way for the next member of Likud list, Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, to enter the Knesset.

The final deal with Liberman is expected soon, and in the meantime, it seems the Foreign Ministry portfolio will remain unfilled.

Despite Netanyahu’s decision to slam the door on the Zionist Union, which had been negotiating a potential unity deal for several weeks, the Prime Minister said that some developments in the Middle East had created a great diplomatic opportunity, and that remained open to the Zionist Union joining the government.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls arrived in Israel Sunday to push a diplomatic plan that, thus far, has gained little traction in Israel.  

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In other news, a report from the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies found that a million Israelis were at risk of losing their jobs to computerization in the next 20 years.

Workers with the highest risk of being replaced by technology include those without college degrees and those already earning less – in other words, the more vulnerable parts of society.

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The Mayo Clinic, one of the world’s best-known medical research and practice groups, announced a new initiative to invest in and partner with Israeli start-ups. It is the first initiative of its kind from the clinic, which will be sending representatives to Israel this week for a major life sciences conference.

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And finally, a JPost Poll taken ahead of Sunday’s Jerusalem Post Conference in New York found that Israelis think Hillary Clinton is more suited for the US Presidency than Donald Trump by a margin of 40% to 29%. On the flipside, however, 38% said Trump would be more effective against terrorism, as opposed to just 21% who thought so of Clinton.

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