Weekend long read

1) At ‘State of Tel Aviv’, Moav Vardi explains ‘Why Putin and Zelensky chose Naftali Bennett’.

“The day after the invasion began in February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with Bennett and asked him to mediate with Russia about a possible ceasefire—and even suggested that a summit be held in Jerusalem. “The Ukrainians were the first to turn to us asking that we mediate between them and Russia,” a senior Israeli official involved in the Ukraine crisis, and familiar with Israel’s role in it, tells me.

“Ukrainian officials told us: ‘you know how to talk to the Russians, we have messages to send them. See if you can find out if Moscow is willing to listen.’ Then we spoke with the Russians, and Putin said, ‘Come.’”

2) At the INSS, Raz Zimmt analyses the recent protests in Iran.

“At this point, protests are limited in scope, certainly compared to the large-scale waves of protests that hit Iran in late 2017 and early 2018 and again November 2019, and do not pose a significant challenge to the regime’s stability. However, they provide further evidence of the acute economic crisis, which is reflected in inflation of about 40%, inflated national debt, and a severe budget deficit. The difficult economic situation and the growing despair among the public provide fertile ground for renewing popular protest and indicate the need for providing a solution to the plight of the citizens.”

3) Enia Krivine of the FDD discusses possible effects of warming Israel-Turkey relations on Hamas.

“Israeli and Lebanese news outlets have reported that Turkey is giving Hamas leadership the boot. However, the reports are based on statements made by unnamed sources, and nothing is confirmed. While Turkish officials have denied carrying out deportations, it is possible Ankara simply refused reentry to Hamas leaders after trips abroad, thereby complying with Israel’s conditions while maintaining plausible deniability.

Why would Erdogan reverse himself this way after a decade of harboring Hamas leadership and cheerleading the Muslim Brotherhood? The short answer is Turkish elections in 2023. Turkey’s flailing economy and spiraling inflation have resulted in an unprecedented lack of popularity for the Turkish president.”

4) The ITIC documents the Palestinian Authority prime minister’s increased anti-Israel rhetoric.

“Muhammad Shtayyeh has been Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister since 2019, and is a member of Fatah’s Central Committee. He studied economics and has a PhD. Mahmoud Abbas appointed him to replace Rami Hamdallah as PA prime minister to improve the PA’s economic situation, which had been deteriorating for several years. In recent months, and especially since the Palestinian terrorist attacks which began in March 2022, he has increasingly verbally attacked Israel and supported the families of Palestinian terrorists. One possible reason is that the PA does not want to be perceived as “moderate” when compared to Hamas’ radical positions against Israel, which influence public opinion in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem.”

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