Director / Editor: Victor Teboul, Ph.D.
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Independent and neutral with regard to all political and religious orientations,® aims to promote awareness of the major democratic principles on which tolerance is based.
World News
By Shahar Eilam and Michal Hatuel-Radoshitzky

A comparative analysis enables us to examine different approaches to the challenges posed by the corona pandemic around the world. Most countries have adopted a similar coping strategy, based on three components: the first is a lockdown policy (to varying degrees), in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus and avoid overloading the health system; the second is the improvement of preparedness and readiness in health systems; and the third is a broad economic aid package in response to the sudden economic shutdown and the deep financial crisis. (Full Story)

By Doron Ella and Shira Efron

On January 15, 2020, the United States and China signed an interim agreement as a first phase toward a comprehensive deal that will end the trade war between the two countries. However, the actual achievement is questionable, since the key components of the agreement focus on at least partial elimination of the tariffs imposed during the trade war, while the American demand that China reduce its subsidies to state-owned Chinese enterprises – which give Chinese companies advantages over other companies – was left out of the agreement. (Full Story)

By Orna Mizrahi

A popular protest erupted in Lebanon on October 17, 2019 on a scale unprecedented in recent years. Mass demonstrations grew steadily stronger in successive days, and have so far numbered between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of participants as they spread from Beirut to the country's other principal cities. For now, the protests continue. The trigger for the demonstrations - in the sense of "the straw that broke the camel's back" - was an unusual decision (rescinded immediately, one day after the protest erupted) to tax WhatsApp voice calls.  (Full Story)

The second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un aimed to achieve the dismantlement of North Korea’s military nuclear infrastructure in return for sanctions relief, but ended abruptly, with no joint document or statement of the two leaders. Most likely the Hanoi experience does not portend derailment of the US-North Korea process, at least for now, and both sides apparently still have an interest to continue cooperation. At the same time, the US and North Korea will find it extremely difficult to resolve a basic contradiction regarding denuclearization.  (Full Story)
The Khashoggi affair, which is far from over, poses the most significant challenge to US-Saudi relations since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Thus far, the administration’s response reflects uncertainty and ambivalence, given its understanding that Riyadh’s conduct demands a response, versus its hope that it will not be forced to acknowledge the failure of its Middle East policy, which assigns Saudi Arabia a critical role, particularly in the efforts to contain Iran. The recent events have intensified the internal unrest that has marked the kingdom for some time, against the background of the confrontational conduct of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. (Full Story)
By Gal Perl Finkel and Gilead Sher

The Knesset has recently amended the “Basic Law: The Government,” with respect to "authority to declare war or conduct a significant military operation." The new concludes: "Under extreme circumstances and for reasons that will be noted…the prime minister and the minister of defense are authorized to make the decision in a more restricted legal quorum." Such a law has almost no equivalent in Western democracies. It lacks the checks and balances essential to a democratic regime and is bound to undermine the principle that war is an act requiring maximum domestic and international legitimacy. (Full Story)

by Raz Zimmt

Some two months after the wave of protest that swept through Iran, the Iranian authorities are endeavoring to bring the situation back to normal, though local protest events are still ongoing. The protests, which reflected the Iranian public’s demand for change, once again highlighted the conflicting opinions in the Iranian leadership concerning the desired response to the civilian plight. President Hassan Rouhani is attempting to exploit the protests to advance economic reforms and civil rights.  (Full Story)

Recent events and statements by German figures indicate a change in Germany's attitude to Israel. What for decades was a unique bilateral relationship - grounded in the memory of the Holocaust and the commitment that Germany consequently made to Israel's existence and security - has been increasingly shaped by considerations of realpolitik that formerly played a secondary role. Indeed, the role of memory in German policy considerations regarding Israel is slipping, in part due to the growing distance from the Holocaust and generational changes.  (Full Story)
By Eldad Shavit

The United States is determined to continue to provide assistance to Lebanon’s armed forces, believing that this military assistance helps maintain state stability. Yet while in his recent visit to Beirut Secretary of State Tillerson stressed repeatedly the administration’s opposition to Hezbollah, it did not appear that the United States has confronted the reality of Hezbollah’s partnership in the Lebanese government, or the identical interests of Hezbollah and official Lebanese government positions. Israel’s official view of US aid to the Lebanese military runs sharply counter to the approach of the US administration. (Full Story)

by Emily B. Landau

While North Korea’s recent nuclear tests significantly raised the level of fear in the United States, they were not a surprise. North Korea, long a nuclear state, is a dangerous nuclear proliferator that has shirked international commitments. Pyongyang issues highly aggressive rhetoric toward the United States and its regional neighbors on a regular basis; it flaunts its nuclear capability and threatens to use it, and tends to share nonconventional know-how and technologies.  (Full Story)

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