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February 8, 2019

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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 8, 2019 By Jonathan Feldstein This is part 2 of a four-part series. There have been investi- gations of Prime Minister Netanyahu on possible legal charges relating to four differ- ent cases going on for years. The attorney general has not yet indicated which, if any, of the charges he might end up indicting the Prime Minister for. If indicted before the election, depending on what the charges are, there could be increased calls for his stepping down immediately, and stepping down as the Likud party's candidate to be Prime Minister. It's pos- sible that recommendations for an indictment may come in February, which will be a potential game changer. This could be similar to the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign where, just before the election, FBI Director James Comey indicated that he would reopen an inves- tigation to Hillary Clinton's possible illegal use of personal emails. It was seen then that this had an adverse impact on Clinton's campaign. Similarly, an announcement by Israel's attorney general about a Netanyahu indictment could have a major adverse impact to the Prime Minister. Of the various investiga- tions against Netanyahu, while all focus on potential violations of Israeli law, the ones that are most serious focus on alleged bribery. Other possible charges include fraud, breach of trust, and corruption. Certainly, left wing and most opposition parties will look for any opportunity to oust Netanyahu. That is a primary, if not the central pillar of their campaigns. The question is what will be of the more centrist and right-wing parties in case of an indict- ment. As potential or likely coalition partners, they must balance political integrity before the voters along with pragmatically negotiating a coalition agreement if Netan- yahuwins as projected. Some- times real politick trumps integrity. We have already begun to see that with some of the parties that seek to be in the government, or at least will not rule that out. There will also be responses to a potential indictment that are muted and strive to balance the need to take a stand but not burn bridges. Israel's Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, has already stated that if indicted, Ne- tanyahu would not have to resign. Politically however, she represents a party looking to capture a greater portion of the right-wing vote and it may become expedient to backtrack from her previous position. If this were to be challenged legally in any way to the Supreme Court, that might not go in Netanyahu's favor as the court has a ten- dency to be activist and left wing which could color its decision. Even within his own Li- kud party there will likely be calls for Netanyahu to step down if indicted, particularly among candidates who see themselves as his successor. Some of these have strained relations with the Prime Minister. For them to call for him to step down is largely a no-lose proposition. They not only want to be his successor, but they are unlikely to be given too many senior posts in forming the next government. All are campaigning strategi- cally alongside others, looking to the soonest opportunity to become the next Prime Minister. Time will tell whether Netanyahu will be indicted at all, and if so on what charges, and when. There's a school of thought that to indict him before the election would unfairly and deliberately tip the electorate. In order to maintain a sense of im- partiality, that's something that the attorney general probably does not want to seem to do. Yet he may feel obliged to do so as a matter of letting the public know who they are voting for. Recent reports are that his recom- mendation as whether to indict Netanyahu or not may come as soon as the middle of February. Either way, this has the ability to create a wide-ranging ripple effect through Israeli politics, in April 2019 and beyond. This will be discussed further in Part 4 of this series. Netanyahu has aggressively charged that an indictment, or recommendation for an indictment, before the elec- tion, without the proper due process including the right to face his accusers, would be un- just at best. He recently called a prime time press conference, taking a firm stance against the charges and the process. Beyond the regular politics of an Israeli electoral season, whether an indictment is recommended or not, this is and will be a factor that influ- ences the election's outcome one way or another. If he is indicted, there's a strong sense that he may make this a central campaign theme, which will resonate with many voters. Publicly blaming people out to take him down unfairly could be a strong campaign strategy. But if indicted, it may be his only strategy. There is a sense of pub- lic embarrassment in past indictments and guilty sen- tences of Prime Minister Olmert, President Katzav, and several other past senior government members. Some of these have been rehabili- tated and even re-elected so there is a forgiving nature among many Israelis. Or if not forgiving, there's a willingness to overlook past indiscretions. Obviously, the working of Israel's legal system is a domestic issue, but in this election it's a stand-alone issue worth noting. In the next article we will explore how an array of domestic is- sues impact Israelis and the upcoming election. Footnote: If you have thoughts or questions about things raised here, or things not mentioned at all, or wish to have updates as the campaign goes along, please feel free to reach out directly. If you'd like a list of relevant articles to add depth to your understanding, please let me know. I may not be able to answer all the questions in real time but will be glad to do so where I can and incorporate these into updates in the future. Thanks for your interest, firstperson- Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Is- rael in 2004. He is married and the father of six and became a grandfather in 2018. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and serve as a bridge between Jews and Christians. He shares insights and experi- ences ofliving as an Orthodox Jew in Israel, writing for prominent Christian and conservative web sites and appearing on many Christian TV and radio programs. He is the president of Run for Zion and the Genesis 123 Founda- tion. He can be reached at and via By Gabe Friedman (JTA)--The day after the New England Patriots beat the favored Kansas City Chiefs to reach their third straight Super Bowl--their amazing ninth in less than 20 years--CBS Sports analyst Boomer Esiason made an in- triguing statement: Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "Is Julian Edelman not a Hall of Famer?" Esiason, a for- mer NFL quarterback, asked on a Boston radio show last week. "The guy is clutch in the biggest of games. I don't know what else to tell you. He is, in my eyes truly the definition of a Hall of Famer: Make the play when the play needs to be made in the biggest games to win the game." Edelman, one of only a few Jewish players in the league, is certainly the most suc- cessful, through his role as star quarterback Tom Brady's favorite target. The Brady-to- Edelman connection has been a major part of the Patriots' dominance in recent years, and the pair have won two Super Bowls together. Edelman, 32, also is the most outwardly Jewish NFL player, embracing that side of his identity over time. He has a Jewish father but was not raised in the religion, and through the Patriots front office often would defer on questions about his religion. His is the quintessential surprise story: Undersized at 5-10 and less than 200 pounds, without blazing speed and coming from Kent State--not exactly Alabama--Edelman was picked toward the end of the last round of the 2009 draft. He didn't establish himself as a standout until the 2013 season. Coincidentally or not, itwas during his breakout year that Edelman identified as Jewish in an interviewwith the NFL Network. Since then, he has shown his Jewish pride on a num- ber of occasions. In a 2014 game, for instance, he wore a pin featuring the Israeli flag. He has tweeted about Jewish holidays. He even went on a Birthright-style trip to Israel, and has written a children's book that references modern- day Zionism founder Theodor Herzl. After the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in the fall that killed 11, he wore special cleats with Hebrew on them to honor the victims. As Esiason noted, Edel- man has become renowned in large part because of his clutch performances in the playoffs. He has made a series of memorable catches, includ- ing one in the 2017 Super Bowl that ranks among the wild- est in championship games. Edelman also has the second most postseason receptions of all time. But getting into the Hall of Fame in any sport isn't just about playoff performance-- regular season statistics are an even bigger part of the equation. While Edelman has three seasons of over 90 receptions and two seasons of more than 1,000 receiving yards--more than respect- able stats--he just doesn't have the numbers to make it to the Hall (regardless of how Boston-area sports writers have been spinning the story). Still, could Edelman be the best Jewish professional foot- ball player ever? Jews certainly don't have a long or illustrious football lineage. On paper, it looks like Sid Luckman, a Chicago Bears quarterback born to German Jewish immigrants in Brook- lyn, owns that distinction. Luckman, who played for the Bears from 1939 to 1950, boasts an array of impressive stats: He led the Monsters of the Midway to four champion- ships, was the league's Most Valuable Player in 1943, led the league in passing yards and touchdowns in three seasons, and holds the record for most touchdown passes in a single game with 7. In 2016, the American Jew- ish Historical Society released a list of who it deemed to be the 10 best Jewish football players of all time. Luckman (JNS)--Despite anti-Se- mitic and anti-Israel rhetoric that includes support for the BDS movement from fresh- men Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D -Minn.), House Democratic leadership has come to their defense. "Clearly, I condemn anti- Semitism," said House Ma- jority leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday. "I don't know that I draw the conclusion, however, that those attacking those two members are correct that they are anti-Semitic. I don't accept that premise." Unlike Hoyer, House Demo- cratic Caucus chairman Ha- keem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) side- stepped the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel issues revolving around the congresswomen Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Julian Edelman talks to the media at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, the site of Super Bowl LIII, Jan. 28, 2019. This was his fifth Super Bowl appearance with the Patriots. placed first, while Edelman was fourth behind two other Hall of Famers--offensive lineman Ron Mix and quarter- back Benny Friedman. Of course, Luckman played in a much different era. For now, Edelman remains the only modern Jewish player you can count on to appear in a Super Bowl--just about every year. at issue: "I've found those two new freshmen members to be thoughtful colleagues on a wide variety of issues." The Daily Caller reported on Tuesday that Tlaib be- longs to a Facebook group called "Palestinian-Ameri- can Congress" that consists of anti-Semitic videos and other posts. Maher Abdel- qader, a crucial fundraiser for Tlaib's congressional bid, posted a video last year questioning historical facts related to the Holocaust in addition to Jewish ties to Israel. The video calls Jews "satanic." "Research the truth about the Holocaust, and you'll defi- nitely start to question what you thought you knew," says the video's narrator. On her first day in office, Tlaib displayed a map with a note posted over Israel that reads "Palestine." Four days later, she attacked Republican lawmakers and opponents of the anti-Israel BDS movement by saying "they forgot what country they represent." Additionally, Tlaib metwith Hezbollah supporter Abbas Hamideh who has said that Is- rael is a"terrorist entity," even though the congresswoman said that "I do not agree with the statements brought to my attention." Meanwhile, Omar, who was recently appointed to the influential House Foreign Af- fairs Committee, has tweeted that "Israel has hypnotized the world" and that the Jewish state practices "apartheid."