Netanyahu on his way out after a dozen years
Coalition agrees to form Israeli government at the last minute
ISRAEL: Leaders of the far left and right struck a deal on Wednesday to form a government—a move that will oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in power. The coalition is led by former Netanyahu protégé Naftali Bennett and includes Arab Israelis in a formal role for the first time.
- Ever since a close March election, lead parties have courted outsiders, including Arab Israelis and Christians.
- U.S. lawmakers are expected to authorize as much as $1 billion to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system after it withstood barrages from Hamas last month.
Iraq: National elections, now postponed from June to October, are likely to further disenfranchise minority Christians. In the past, Iraqi citizens living abroad, including about 1 million Christians, could vote. Eliminating that procedure skews voting away from Christians and other minorities forced to leave.
Syria: U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield will travel to the Turkey-Syria border to get a firsthand look ahead of a U.S. bid to open all humanitarian corridors for aid into Syria. In recent years Turkey, Russia, and China have successfully lobbied to restrict aid access to just one or two entry points. Underscoring desperate need, six-year-old Nahla al-Othman choked to death in a crowded tent camp in rebel-held northwest Syria. She ate too quickly after going hungry.
Ethiopia: The Orthodox Church patriarch is sounding the alarm, saying genocide is underway in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region. There Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have sandwiched civilians and the TPLF, or Tigray People’s Liberation Front, in a seven-month conflict. The atrocities reported are unspeakable. An Ethiopian aid worker for an Italian charity has been killed, at least the ninth aid worker killed in Tigray since November’s outbreak of violence.
China: Authorities in just a few days eliminated Catholic leadership in Xinjiang, arresting the bishop of the diocese, who has served since 1991, and 10 priests. A Sino-Vatican deal allowing the Chinese Communist Party to approve clergy has continued to fuel crackdowns on those loyal to the Holy See. The latest arrests come during a global prayer campaign for China’s church.
Wuhan’s initial COVID-19 outbreak might have been two or three times worse than officials reported, and British intelligence has joined U.S. officials contending the lab-leak theory of virus origins could be plausible. More on origins and implications from this Hudson Institute panel.
South Korea: An entire house congregation in China’s southern city of Shenzhen, fearing a crackdown on their activities, relocated to South Korea. But they face long odds of gaining asylum.
Greece: In post-pandemic Europe, migrants face new barriers to entry.
Denmark: Two weeks before President Joe Biden’s first trip to Europe, European leaders are again roiled by Danish reports the U.S. spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The world’s top countries for military spending may surprise you.
I READ and wrote about Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry into the News by Jeffrey Bilbro. It’s a good read on how the digital ecosystem is changing the way we belong to one another.
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