TRUMP’S PLAN US
President Donald Trump said he was “looking forward” to welcoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz in late January in Washington to discuss the administration’s Mideast peace plan, dubbed the “Deal of the Century.” “It’s a great plan. It’s a plan that really would work,” Trump told reporters en route to Florida. “Look, Israel wants peace, Palestinians want peace. They all want peace. Not everyone wants to say it.” Trump was set to meet Gantz on January 27, and Netanyahu the day after. The Palestinian Authority warned that the Trump plan would spark a new wave of mass protests.BENNETT’S ORDER
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered security forces on January 19 to issue restraining orders barring members of a left-wing group called Anarchists Against the Wall, from the West Bank, accusing them of instigating “violent provocations” in Palestinian villages during their weekly protests against the security barrier. Bennett said, according to information he had obtained, the activists aimed to rile up local residents, hurt IDF soldiers, damage property and cause public relations harm to Israel. Joint List MK Ofer Cassif tweeted his angry response to Bennett’s order, urging activists to continue their “nonviolent and just struggle.”NEW MINISTERS
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on January 20 the appointment of three ministers from the Likud to three portfolios he was forced to give up after being indicted on corruption charges. Tzipi Hotovely will take on the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, Tzachi Hanegbi, in addition to his duties as regional cooperation minister, will head the Agriculture Ministry; and Ofir Akunis will take on the welfare ministry in addition to his science portfolio.
A six-mile-long, previously unknown river has been discovered flowing through the desert canyons near the Dead Sea, Kan News reported on January 19. According to the report, the river lies within the concession area of the Dead Sea Works, a potash plant in Sodom, and contains unique geological phenomena. But it warned potential visitors to stay away because there are dangerous minefields in the area.MANDELA’S INSPIRATION
A new painting by Dutch-born British artist Michael Italiaander, commissioned by the Anne Frank Trust UK ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, depicts how the iconic South African leader Nelson Mandela was inspired by the diary of Anne Frank, which he read while imprisoned on Robben Island. “The design of the painting is based on the effect Anne’s words have on Mandela,” says Italiaander. “He reads her diary and sees how the tragedy that was hers was also his – racism, that horrible curse that so many people have.” Italiaander turned 97 on January 8, 2020, the day on which he and his wife Doris also celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary.