Will New Witness Close the Case on Bibi?

The state has secured a new witness in its ongoing investigation of corruption charges against Prime Minister Netanyahu. Shlomo Filber, once Netanyahu’s “right-hand man,” is allegedly going to give the state crucial testimony for Case 4000 – concerning alleged quid quo pro deals between the PM and Bezeq – Israel’s leading communications company. Many believe that this could be the end of Bibi’s political career, but recent polling has the PM’s Likud party gaining rather than losing support, despite widespread belief that Netanyahu is corrupt. More at YNET.

Filber’s testimony is expected to sew up a multimillion-dollar bribery case in which the prime minister allegedly helped telecom giant Bezeq in exchange for favorable coverage from Bezeq’s news website Walla. Netanyahu can now be considered a political corpse. He’s hemmed in from all sides by these three cases.

Allegations of corruption have dogged Netanyahu for the past two decades, but he has never been charged with a crime. The defection of an aide as close as Filber turns up the heat.

“This looks very problematic and raises the chances of there being an indictment,” said Abraham Diskin, professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Zionist Union chairman said a prime minister whose confidants, like Communications Ministry Director-General Shlomo Filber and Netanyahu’s former chief of staff Ari Harrow, turned state’s witness should resign immediately, and he is certain Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett and Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon will soon agree…

Based on recent polling it is not clear that the opposition would gain from elections.

Is Trump Pro-Gun Control?

Under pressure to take action after the deadly shooting at a Parkland, Florida High School last week, President Trump has voiced support for a number of initiatives to prevent future mass shootings – including banning certain gun accessories, new legislation on background checks, and age limits. Does this proposed legislation signal a turning point on gun control? Or is the President merely putting a band-aid on the problem? More at Chicago Tribune.

For anything but the most limited measures… Trump must offer cover to conservative lawmakers in primary races and mount a consistent push for compromise in Congress…

Any serious action will require the kind of leadership that could cause him to alienate parts of his political base, something that Trump has been reluctant to do in his first 13 months in office.

It’s natural to look to the president for leadership when horrific mass shootings keep occurring across the country, but Trump has offered little reason to think he will rise to the occasion. The passionate speech from 18-year-old Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez probably contained the best advice to gun-control advocates on how to approach the president: “The best thing for us to do is ignore him and to continue fighting our fight.”

Mr. Trump wants to keep an open mind ahead of the discussions with parents and students this week, but isn’t bending in his support for Second Amendment rights, the official said.

What Mr. Trump would consider, alternatively, is an age restriction that keeps certain weapons away from people under 21; trained armed guards in more schools; tougher background checks; and more screening to keep guns away from those with mental illness.

What Kind of Senator Will Romney Be?

President Trump has officially endorsed Mitt Romney as a candidate in the upcoming Utah Senate race. The two have had their differences in the past and Romney has, at certain moments, been a firm anti-Trump GOP member. But now that Romney has Trump’s endorsement, many are wondering if he’ll change his tune for good. More at Washington Post.

Mitt Romney will never stop being owned by Donald Trump.During the 2016 election, Romney gave a speech in which he called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” and fervently argued that he was unfit for office… Then, three weeks after Trump won, he kissed the ring and submitted to a humiliating photo-op while trying to convince the president-elect to make him Secretary of State…

When Romney finally announced that he was running for Senate last week, he strongly hinted that his days of criticizing Donald Trump were over.

One thing is certain. He won’t be a backbencher, even on his first day. Even if he weren’t the former presidential candidate of his party, Mitt Romney has the personality and experience to be a dominant figure in the media age.

The media will flock to Romney like moths to a flame. And they’ll constantly try to bait him, especially when he differs with Trump.

Romney will continue to call out the president’s behavior when he feels compelled to, advisers say—as he did in the wake of Charlottesville—but he won’t be piling on after every outlandish early-morning Tweet. “I would be surprised if he mentions Trump’s name 10 times on the campaign trail,” said Miller.

Of course, such a strategy is unlikely to satisfy those yearning for a dose of #NeverTrump catharsis in Romney’s rhetoric.

Why Are Jews on Twitter Mad at Sarah Silverman?

Sarah Silverman got in trouble on Twitter for voicing her support of Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old Palestinian girl currently undergoing trial in Israel for slapping an Israeli soldier. According to some, Ahed is an activist and a hero. To others, she is a terrorist sympathizer. This clash of views on Tamimi came to head on Silverman’s twitter page. More at Times of Israel.

Dear Sarah Silverman — it seems that you have been taken in by Amnesty International’s cynical campaign for Ahed Tamimi… Well, Amnesty is lying about the Tamimis. As Amnesty knows full well, Ahed’s family has emphasized in media interviews for years, that they hope to instigate a “third intifada” that would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. And for years, Ahed’s family has demonstrated their support for terrorism, and their ardent Jew-hatred.

Dear palestinians/jews/israelis/and everyone w an opinion: I can only speak for me & all I care about is what is true, & what is just. Unfortunately, from what I see, those things seem to be wildly subjective. Only God/Allah/Hashem/Mr. Rogers knows….

Much like Sarah Silverman – adorable as a comedian, less so as a policy maven – I too understand that Palestinian attackers such as Ahed Tamimi have reasons for their “rage”. I also understand that some impartial observers might conclude that “her rage” justifies her means – like slapping an IDF officer. So maybe Silverman chose to be an impartial observer when she thinks about Israel. She can do that, if she wants to. What she can’t do is have it both ways: be an impartial observer AND claim the mantle of being a friend of Israel’s.

If you are a friend, an attacker of an Israeli soldier is not someone you try to understand, it is someone you want captured and punished. Sometimes, with friends, things are quite simple.

How Do We Rank Presidential “Greatness?”

A few days after President’s Day a group of American scholars released a ranking of all American Presidents based on their greatness.  Lincoln came out on top, Trump at the bottom. But does the survey tell us anything about our presidents? Or is it just a mirror for our politics? More at Time.

…it could be argued that an element of Lincoln’s greatness was the tenacity he brought to bear in attempting to get the nation through its crisis… Democrats had sought to calm the passions of the slavery issue through the Kansas-Nebraska Act, but it had precisely the opposite effect. Lincoln not only saw this, but crafted a rhetorical concept of both the crisis and a pathway for getting through it.

Political polarization may be blotting out Americans’ understanding of their own history, a new poll suggests. More Americans identified former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama as the best president in U.S. history rather than Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

While a strong case could be made for Reagan, Lincoln and Washington should beat him and Obama easily on the merits.

Poor reviews of Trump from establishment-oriented groups such as the media and even the official Republican Party have long served to almost reinforce the GOP base’s support of him. A bunch of academics rating Trump as the worst ever will only pour some more cement on that.

Is Alcohol the Key to a Longer Life?

A new study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science has discovered a surprising trend in their research of people living to 90 or older: they tend to drink alcohol. Does the correlation mean that drinking alcohol increases your chances of a long life? More at US News.

The results do not show causation, only an unexplained link between drinking and longevity. More information is needed about how the study was conducted before treating wine as the drink at the fountain of youth.

There’s still a lot scientists don’t know about drinking, but the research clearly suggest that moderation is key. While it’s smart to cut back if your drinking veers into bingeing territory, there’s likely no reason to stop drinking if you do so in small amounts — just as you probably shouldn’t feel compelled to start sipping if you don’t already.

Other factors were found to boost longevity, including weight. Participants who were slightly overweight — but not obese — cut their odds of an early death by 3 percent.

“It’s not bad to be skinny when you’re young but it’s very bad to be skinny when you’re old,” Kawas noted in her address.

Subjects who kept busy with a daily hobby two hours a day were 21 percent less likely to die early, while those who drank two cups of coffee a day cut that risk by 10 percent.

Today’s Hot Issues

Will New Witness Close the Case on Bibi? Is Trump Pro-Gun Control? What Kind of Senator Will Romney Be? Why Are Jews on Twitter Mad at Sarah Silverman? How Do We Rank Presidential “Greatness?” Is Alcohol the Key to a Longer Life?