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Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) speaks as Senator Bernie Sanders reacts during a Democratic debate hosted by CNN and New York One at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York April 14, 2016..(Photo by: LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS)
Briefing: The Democratic showdown on Israel
By PODCAST
04/17/2016
The JPost Podcast's weekly briefing catches you up on the most important stories from the past week.

  
 





This past week, Democratic hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in their final debate before Tuesday’s New York primary.

Sanders called himself "100 percent pro-Israel," but also argued that Israel used disproportionate force against the Palestinians, and added that "There comes a time if we are going to pursue justice and peace that we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time."

Clinton responded: "Nobody is saying that any individual leader is always right but it is a difficult position," and added that "Describing the problem is a lot easier than trying to solve it."

Meanwhile, Sanders suspended his controversial national Jewish outreach coordinator, Simone Zimmerman, after an old social media post of hers came to light. In the post, Zimmerman swore at Netanyahu, and called him deceptive, cynical and manipulative.

**

Mohabad Abrini, the suspected accomplice of the Brussels airport suicide bombers, reportedly told investigators that the attack plans included targeting travelers on their way to Tel Aviv, as well as the US and Russia. Abrini is allegedly “the man in the hat” spotted alongside the suspected bombers in security photos. The report came from French BFM TV.

**

State Department spokesman Mark Toner attempted to "firmly shut" the door on any prospective resolution the US considers biased against Israel. Toner said: "Our position hasn’t changed in terms of action on this issue at the UN Security Council."

There has been concern in Israel that the Obama White House was planning to support such a resolution before a new president is sworn in in January. The White House said last year that it was willing to review its UN policy toward the conflict, and it has yet to explicitly rule out such an approach.

**

According to a Channel 10 report, the US continues to believe that recently-released Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard holds classified, top secret information.

US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper filed a report to a New York court arguing that Pollard should be restricted in his parole, saying that he could otherwise cause serious harm to the national security of the United States based on information he obtained before he was arrested in 1985.

**

An unidentified Jewish couple purportedly made history on the Temple Mount by having a secret wedding ceremony at Judaism’s holiest site. According to a statement on Tuesday from the right-wing Temple Institute, based in Jerusalem, they were only the second couple in 2,000 years to have gotten married at the site.

The Temple Institute champions Jewish visitation rights on the Temple Mount, where open Jewish prayer is banned.

The couple reportedly conducted the bare bones acts of the ceremony surreptitiously. Had authorities noticed the exchange, the group would have been removed from the site and potentially arrested for “causing a public disturbance.”

**

Beit Hillel, an association of religious-Zionist rabbis, issued a position statement of Jewish law calling for greater understanding and debate on homosexuality. The statement urged the religious community to allow gay people to take up communal religious duties and to show greater inclusiveness toward them in general.

The paper also asserted that homosexual acts are forbidden by Halacha and cannot be permitted by religious leaders, and that Orthodox rabbis cannot legitimize same-sex unions.

**

In business news, Chinese conglomerate Fosun International completed a deal to acquire Israel’s Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories owned by Gaon Holdings for NIS 290 million.

Ahava confirmed plans to relocate its West Bank facility, which made it the target of BDS action, ahead of the acquisition.

Last month, Israel and China announced the opening of free-trade negotiations.

**

And finally, in a radio interview with Howard Stern, stand-up comedian Louis CK said he is planning to perform in Israel for the first time.

Last May, CK made headlines across Israel after incorporating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into his opening monologue as the host of Saturday Night Live.
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