The holidays have not finished. They haven’t even begun. However, school is on, as of September 2, families are back from vacation, and the noise is underway to deal with a number of pending issues.
News from police and prosecutors is that Sara and Yair Netanyahu are under suspicion for involvement in Case #4. That deals with alleged involvement in manipulations concerned with the nation’s prime telephone company, and its acquisition of a prominent web server. Apparently, the first lady and son wanted even greater treatment from the news service attached to these giants, and involved themselves—along with the Prime Minister—in shady dealings.
Case #1 and Case #2 concern gifts to the first family, and Bibi’s approach to the publisher of Yedioth Aharonoth  to get better treatment in exchange for reigning in Israel Hayom. Case #3 involves dealings with respect to submarines. The Prime Minister has not been directly involved, but key aides are up to their kishkes in this one.
It’s not clear when these will be resolved. We’re hearing of case summaries after the holidays by the police, then the prosecutor’s consideration, and hearings before final decisions on indictments. As things operate here, all that will extend into 2019 at the least.
So far Bibi has met the news of family involvement with a continuation of his ridicule. He has suggested bringing a case against the family dog.
For the time being, the Prime Minister seems secure in the polls. And there is a lingering issue having to do with the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox which he may use to call an election ahead of the police and prosecutors’ concerns to finish with the charges against him and his family.
Some time ago the Supreme Court ruled that the issue of enlistment has to be dealt with, and the coalition has been dealing with the feelings of the ultra-Orthodox. Currently the SHAS Sephardim seem content with what’s on the table, while the Ashkenazim in Torah Judaism haven’t brought themselves to the consensus.
Chances are that nothing decided would seriously increase the incidence of ultra-Orthodox drafted into Israel’s army. However, Ashkenazim factions will continue to protest, up to and beyond what may be agreed.
Bibi is threatening a government crisis on this issue after the holidays, if it cannot be resolved until then.
Meanwhile, Gaza seems relatively quiet, working toward some kind of resolution with Israel, not waiting for the Palestinians of the West Bank to bring themselves to any cooperation.
We’re all waiting for the final demise of Mahmoud Abbas, currently kept in a state of some activity with medications supplied from Israel. It seems to be in the nature of Palestinian politics that contenders for his job are operating quietly while Abbas declines.
Local and international media are filled with stories about Donald Trump, his women, a previously unacknowledged child, financial dealings, several aides who have fallen afoul, and his tweets. Impossible to sort out and find realities. When and if it will all end is dependent on the election results of November, and what that’ll do to the prospects of impeachment. Trump himself expresses satisfaction with his chances in 2020. Meanwhile, the US Government continues to function, including close to us. Forces operating in Syria and ongoing plans for a proposed settlement of Israel-Palestine are somewhere in the works, with us wondering about the President’s sense of what is occurring among Palestinians and in the chaos of Syria.
The biggest news is an announcement of a $200 million dollar/year cut in US aid for UNRWA, accusations of corruption in the organization, and the role of Palestinian refugees as stymying any chances of an agreement with Israel.
It’s something that has united the comments of both West Bank and Gazan figures, each condemning the involvement of the US in worsening the plight of Palestinians dependent on UNRWA. Israelis are wondering what the termination will do to the chances of an accord with Gaza, and the prospects of an upset in the West Bank. And it seems likely to affect whatever occurs with Mahmoud Abbas, his decline, and competition for a replacement.
Stay tuned. None of this will get less exciting.
It's still early, but accept my best wishes for the New Year