Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on June 25. Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Sunday Reads: America’s pessimism, Netanyahu’s troubles, Egypt’s children


US

Americans are still pessimistic, reports PEW, not just the same Americans:

A 67% majority of the public says they are dissatisfied with how things are going in this country today, compared with 28% who say they are satisfied. This represents little change over the past year. In fact, the share of Americans expressing satisfaction with national conditions has been no more than about 30% for well more than a decade. In late October, just prior to the election, only 11% of Republicans and Republican leaners said they were satisfied with how things were going, while 52% of Democrats and Democratic leaners said they were satisfied. Today, these views are nearly the reverse: 49% of Republicans now say they are satisfied, while just 11% of Democrats agree.

Curt Mills summarizes the War Against McMaster. Just so it’s clear: Israeli officials claim that the McMaster is anti-Israel campaign is baseless:

A seemingly-coordinated hard-right campaign is underway to force McMaster from office, at the same time that McMaster has conducted a lightning-speed purge of the National Security Council that has claimed several Bannon acolytes and old loyalists to previous National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. And notably, and perhaps confusingly, McMaster has garnered the public support of prominent neoconservatives.

 Israel

Herb Keinon asks: is this Netanyahu’s end?

Netanyahu often says that all his actions are motivated by a desire to ensure the security of the country and its citizens. The public believed him, which is why he was elected prime minister on four occasions. Running the country under indictment, however, would raise questions about whether there are other factors behind his decisions. The coalition parties may be soon be faced with the decision about whether that is indeed a healthy way to rule the land.

Before celebrating (or mourning) Netanyahu’s demise, take a look at the polls:

The latest Knesset survey by Dr. Yitzhak Katz’s Maagar Mohot polling agency shows the Likud opening up a 10-seat lead over its closest competitor, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid. While the Likud would, according to the poll, win 30 seats, Yesh Atid would win just 20… According to the latest poll, Netanyahu’s present coalition partners would retain 66 of the 67 seats they currently hold, with a net loss of just one mandate.

Middle East

Egypt does not need so many Egyptians:

Last month, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi cited the increase in population as one of the country’s gravest dangers. As part of its efforts to curb population, the government has sent a draft law to the parliament cutting number of times Egyptian women can take paid maternity leave, from three times to only two. The draft law retains the four months of paid maternity leave as granted under the current law. Some members of parliament have suggested granting state subsidies on food to families who only have two children.

Middle East human rights violations is nothing new. Now the Saudis are getting ready to execute 14 men – and the Washington Post is rightly upset by this:

The latest sign of this backwardness is the fate of 14 Saudi men, all from the country’s Shiite minority, who are facing execution for allegedly staging protests in the kingdom. As The Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan reported , the men are charged with terrorism-related offenses, but human rights groups say confessions from the defendants were extracted under torture. Among those condemned to death are Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat, who, after attending pro-democracy protests inspired by the Arab Spring in 2011 and 2012, was arrested at an airport in December 2012 as he was leaving the country to visit the campus of Western Michigan University, which he was thinking of attending. 

 Jewish World

Some Australians has it backwards, but this story ought to worry every Jew who doesn’t live in Israel:

The Land and Environment Court backed the decision by Waverley Council to prohibit the construction of the synagogue in Wellington St, Bondi — just a few hundred metres from Australia’s most famous beach — because it was too much of a security risk for users and local residents. Jewish leaders are shocked the decision appears to suggest they cannot freely practice their religion because they are the target of hate by Islamist extremists — and that the council has used their own risk assessment of the threat posed by IS against it.

And in Ireland, there is the curious case of a columnist still believing the old fables about Jews and money. Some Jews were more offended than others by his column (he argued that Jews are better paid in the BBC because they are good negotiators):

Let me make this clear. I am not the embodiment of some flattering characteristic shared by all Jews. When you generalise about Jewish people, you are talking about me, a Jewish person, and millions of other Jewish people, who are like and unlike me in countless ways. The only thing that I am by virtue of being Jewish is exceptional at using Yiddish expletives. Can I say shmuck in a family newspaper? Is that okay now? The stereotypical Jewish person that Myers depicts in his original article and also the Jewish person he paints in his apology are two sides of the same coin. And that person is not a real Jew. It is a figment of the imagination that does not exist in reality.

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