1. The political stalemate in Israel. After a pair of inconclusive national elections, both Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu, leaders of the two largest political parties, failed to build a viable governing coalition in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. At year’s end, Netanyahu, despite being formally indicted for criminal activities, tenaciously remained in power as prime minister. An unprecedented third election to resolve the deadlock is scheduled for early March 2020.
2. The resurgence of violent anti-Semitism. Nearly 75 years after the end of the Holocaust and World War II, violent acts of anti-Semitism (hatred of Jews and Judaism) sharply increased during the year, including fatal hate crime shootings at a San Diego-area synagogue and a Jersey City kosher market and an unsuccessful attempt to kill worshipers on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) in Halle, Germany. They were but three of the growing number of both physical and verbal attacks on Jews in the U.S. and Europe. In France, 89% of French Jewish students report experiencing anti-Jewish abuse and, since 2003, a dozen people have been murdered in that country for the sole reason that they were Jewish.