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Eight Days Remain to Obtain a Coalition but a Unity Government Remains Elusive

By the Jerusalem Post

With just over a week remaining until the October 24 deadline to either form a government or return the mandate to President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not negotiate with any potential partners for the 12th consecutive day on Tuesday. The prime minister's last negotiating meeting was with Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman on October 3, and the last time he met with Blue and White was on September 27, before Gantz's party canceled a meeting with the Likud team and between Gantz and Netanyahu set for October 1. Sources in Likud confirmed that one of the reasons Netanyahu is not negotiating is that he wants to stall to allow Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to make a decision on his indictment. Netanyahu is seemingly convinced that Mandelblit will drop the bribery charge against him. Should Mandelblit make such a decision before the three weeks in which any candidate can form a government, Likud sources said Netanyahu believes he will have a much easier time building a coalition. Liberman, who is thought to be the political kingmaker, lashed out at the Likud on Tuesday, blaming Netanyahu's party for the current political impasse. Speaking following a tour of Herodion National Park, Liberman lamented that the Likud did not agree to his request last week to begin immediate negotiations with Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu over the policies of the next government. "We are still waiting for a response from the Likud's negotiating team to our request to start meeting and drafting guidelines acceptable to the majority of the people of Israel," Liberman said. "Unfortunately the answer has still not come, but we have time and patience, so we will wait." The political fight over who will form the next government reached a new peak on Tuesday, as Likud and Yisrael Beytenu escalated their fierce mutual recriminations. Meanwhile, Netanyahu's close political ally, Foreign Minister Israel Katz, accused Liberman on Tuesday of causing the September 17 election – and perhaps another – out of revenge, because Netanyahu and Katz prevented him from joining Likud. "Liberman carried out political assassination against Netanyahu and Likud out of personal revenge and a desire to destroy the Likud," Katz said at his annual Sukkot party at his home in Moshav Kfar Ahim in the northern Negev. The same man did not stop knocking on the Likud's door in an effort to join the party in recent years." Katz called upon his neighbor in Kfar Ahim, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, to negotiate with him in his sukkah on a Netanyahu-led national unity government. He said there is no possibility of a government without Likud, and no possibility of a Likud without Netanyahu, but vowed that in the post-Netanyahu era he will be the next Likud leader and prime minister. Liberman's comments came after anonymous Likud sources were quoted using the same talking points in various media outlets, saying Netanyahu had not yet given up on forming a coalition because Liberman had yet to commit to not supporting a minority left-wing government with the Joint Arab List, and Yisrael Beytenu was providing a political safety net from outside the coalition. The Yisrael Beytenu leader complained about the accusation. "The only one who has collaborated with the Arab MKs over the years since [the late Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir] Arafat and Wye Plantation is Netanyahu," Liberman said. He pointed out that Netanyahu got the support of Arab MKs for dispersing the Knesset when he failed to form a government after the April election, and in the vote for State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman. Liberman called on Netanyahu to break up the Likud's political bloc with right-wing and religious parties.

Top Fatah Official Calls for `Escalation' so Israelis Will `Pay a Heavy Price Every Day'

By Palestinian Media Watch

One of Fatah's top officials, Central Committee member Abbas Zaki, has called for Fatah-Hamas to unite in order to "defeat" Israel, the common "enemy": "If we consolidate our ranks and unify our internal front we will begin to work with an open mind, will, and strategy that are undebatable, then we will certainly defeat our enemy, which is Israel." [Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 22, 2019] In response to US Envoy Jason Greenblatt's statements at a UN Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East on July 23, 2019, that the West Bank is "disputed" and not "occupied" territory, Zaki called for escalation "on the ground" – implicitly calling for violence against Israelis – to "not allow the occupiers to live routine lives" but make them pay "a heavy price every day": "There is no avoiding an escalating policy on the ground with great momentum from the masses, which will not allow the occupiers to live routine lives. Their occupation of our land must have a heavy price, which they will pay every day." [Al-Dustour, Jordanian news website, Sept. 8, 2019] Zaki also repeated two dangerous libels used by the PA to incite Palestinian violence, claiming that Israel is a "desecrator of holy sites" and is planning to destroy "Palestinian existence": "Unity is the necessary path for those whose land is occupied and our basic enmity cannot be between us, but rather towards the occupier of the country and desecrator of holy sites, whose goal is to end the Palestinian existence in its country." [Donia Al-Watan, Sept. 22, 2019] Zaki appealed to the Arab states to join the defense of the holy sites, threatening that Allah will punish them with defeat if they don't defend "Palestine." He also repeated yet another PA libel that the two blue stripes on Israel's flag is testimony of Israel's aspiration to create a Greater Israel between the two rivers, the Euphrates and the Nile: "We hope that the [Arab] brothers… will ask themselves where they stand regarding their holy sites and the fortress that is defending them from the aspirations of `Israel' and its permanent motto – as is clear in its flag between the two blue stripes – `From the Euphrates [River] to the Nile [River]'? Where do they [the Arabs] stand regarding the connections of brotherhood, blood, and shared fate? We say in a clear voice that those who turn their back on Palestine and Jerusalem will be defeated in the end, regardless of how great their capabilities may be. Whoever is for Palestine will triumph, because they are defending Allah's holy sites. Whoever is for Allah triumphs, while those who are against Him are defeated." The libel that Israel wants to destroy Palestinians might very well be just a reflection of Zaki's and other Palestinian leaders' own dreams to destroy Israel. In a speech at a ceremony arranged by Fatah in Hebron for students who took the matriculation exams, Zaki threatened to obliterate all of Israel. He stated that unless Israel – the "enemy" – and the US stop "their arrogance," Palestinians will defeat all of Israel. "Fatah is the path to the return… The flag will not be dropped. If we fail, our sons, grandsons, and daughters are the ones who will wave the flag. If in a situation of peace, then [they will wave it] above Jerusalem, the towers of its mosques, and its churches. But if this enemy [Israel] and America continue with their arrogance, then [our descendants will wave it] above Jaffa, the Negev, the Galilee, the Carmel, the Triangle, etc. Land that we don't restore – we are not worthy of it." [Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki, Aug. 13, 2019] Jaffa, the Negev, the Galilee, the Carmel, the Triangle are all places in Israel within the Green Line. Palestinian Media Watch has exposed that Zaki has a history of support for terror. He congratulated the parents of Omar Abu Laila, who murdered two Israelis in March 2019, wishing that "Allah reward them." Abbas sent Zaki as his representative to a ceremony honoring "heroic" terrorist prisoners, where Zaki appeared on stage together with several armed masked men. Zaki has also expressed the PA's long-term strategy: To destroy Israel in stages so that it will "come to an end."

Lightning Hits Israeli Beach, 5 in Same Family Electrocuted, Teen in Critical Condition

By United with Israel

A 14-year-old boy is in critical condition after being struck by lightning on Zikim Beach, near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. He is among five people injured in the incident, all from the same family, Arutz 7 reported. The boy's sister-in-law is in serious condition. The other siblings – ages 13, 17, and 24 – are listed in moderate condition, according to Arutz 7. They were taken to the nearby Barzilai Hospital. "Five people were injured and brought to the medical center. One of them, 14 years old, who was in critical condition, underwent prolonged resuscitation," said Dr. Gili Givati, deputy director of the hospital. "He is currently in a trauma room and undergoing pediatric intensive care. Another serious injury was sustained in the field. Intensive care was underway. She, 22, is in intensive care. There were 3 people who suffered minor injuries. They recognized, signs show signs of electrical tension, entries wounds and exit wounds," Givati added. Magen David Adom paramedic Keren Slabodnik recounted the incident. "On the beach were two young men who were unconscious, and another who was partly conscious. MDA staff who were nearby began performing CPR on two of the young men, who had no heartbeat and were not breathing, and administering medical aid to the third young man, who was partly conscious. "Immediately when we arrived, together with other MDA personnel, we continued performing CPR and treating the wounded. The heart of one of the victims began beating again, and we are continuing to perform CPR on one of the victims while providing lifesaving medical treatment to the other two," she said. And in Jerusalem, as Sukkot celebrations continued, the extreme weather brought lightning over the Temple Mount Lightning over Temple Mount, electrifying the sky. On Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon, rains, thunder, lightning and extreme winds fell upon the Holy Land. The unusual weather also damaged and in some cases destroyed the temporary outdoor booths (sukkahs) erected to dwell in during the holiday.

Muslim Educator: Jews Have a Right to Pray on Temple Mount

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Nahil Zoabi, a Muslim educator from the village of Nein in Israel's north, stated upon his visit to the Temple Mount that the site is sacred for all religions and that prayer should also be allowed for Jews there. Zoabi, an educator for some 25 years and the principal of the school in Tamra for some 15 years, is accustomed to ascend from time to time to the Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray to his Creator, he says, and believes everyone should be allowed to pray anywhere - certainly on the Temple Mount - without fear. "The Temple Mount is a connecting, uniting place, and therefore every person, certainly Jews who wish to pray on the Temple Mount, has a fundamental right to do so," Zoabi said. "Believers of all religions and faiths are invited to pray with respect and tolerance on the Temple Mount. I would be more than happy to see, alongside Muslims praying at Al-Aqsa, Jewish worshipers, praying with mutual respect."

New Novel Imagines a 'Happily Ever After' for Jesus

By Israel Hayom
"The Book of Longings" is the fourth novel by the author Sue Monk Kidd who is known for such best-sellers as "The Secret Life of Bees" and "The Invention of Wings." "The Book of Longings" is told from the point of view of a restless young woman from the Galilee region named Ana, who meets Jesus when he's 18 and eventually marries him. According to Viking, the marriage "unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos." Kidd draws upon historical research, but Ana is entirely invented. "I believe the aim of the novelist is not only to hold up a mirror to the world as it is, but to imagine what's possible," Kidd told news services.



"From the moment the idea of writing this novel struck me, I felt the importance of at least imagining a married Jesus. Doing so, provokes a fascinating question: How would the Western world be different if Jesus had married and his wife had been included in his story? There are only speculative answers, but I think Christianity and the Western world would have had a somewhat different religious and cultural inheritance, especially when it came to the egalitarian roles of women, to celibacy, and so forth. Why imagine a woman married to Jesus? Because stories of possibility challenge us to create new realities." Viking announced that Kidd's new book, originally titled "Ana, the Wife of Jesus," comes out April 28, 2020. The canonical gospels make no reference to Jesus ever marrying, but scholars, conspiracists and fiction writers have long speculated whether he wed Mary Magdalene, most famously (and controversially) in Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code." Kidd said that her novel is, in part, a response to the marginalized status of women in the Bible. "The invisibility and silencing of women were real things. In the scriptures, women rarely have speaking parts and they aren't mentioned nearly as often as men," she said. "It could even be argued that in the first-century Jewish world of Galilee, marriage was so normative, it more or less went without saying. Typically undertaken at 20 (though sometimes up to age 30), marriage was a man's civic, family and sacred duty. There are compelling reasons to support both sides of the argument. The matter is likely irresolvable. All I know," she added, "is that Ana wandered into my imagination and I couldn't ignore her."


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