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Daily Briefing Feb. 19: Day 136 – Is Israel ready to fight a war in the north?

Diplomatic correspondent Lazar Berman on Brazil’s Holocaust comparison, Ramadan restrictions for Arab Israelis on Al-Aqsa and what Moscow’s interest is in holding a Hamas-PA summit

Welcome to The Times of Israel’s Daily Briefing, your 20-minute audio update on what’s happening in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world.

Today is Day 136 of the war. Diplomatic correspondent Lazar Berman joins host Amanda Borschel-Dan on today’s episode.

Last night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in front of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem. On Saturday night, Berman also attended a press conference in Jerusalem with the prime minister. Was the messaging the same in the two events?

On Sunday, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva compared Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza to the Holocaust, saying Israel was committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians in the Strip and saying the only historical equivalent was “when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.” He made these remarks in front of an African Union summit. How did the setting play into his statements?

The Palestinian Authority wants to hold unity talks with Hamas in Moscow on February 26, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Sunday. What is Russia’s interest in hosting this summit?

Netanyahu sided on Sunday with far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir on Sunday, endorsing restrictions on Arab Israelis’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during Ramadan. How will Hamas weaponize the optics of Israeli citizens being restricted from the holy site?

Finally, Berman gives an in-depth analysis of why Israel is not ready to fight another front in the north and what factors need to change to allow it.

For the latest updates, please look at The Times of Israel’s ongoing live blog.

Discussed articles include:

Live blog February 19, 2024

Addressing US Jewish leaders on Gaza war, PM says: ‘We have to finish the job’

Netanyahu: Those telling us not to enter Rafah are essentially saying ‘lose the war’

Israel livid as Brazil’s Lula says Israel like ‘Hitler,’ committing genocide in Gaza

Calling for ‘Palestinian unity,’ PA premier urges Hamas to attend Moscow meet

Reports: Siding with Ben Gvir, PM plans to limit Arab Israeli Al-Aqsa access on Ramadan

THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Civilians and soldiers killed in Hamas’s onslaught on Israel

THOSE WE ARE MISSING: The hostages and victims whose fate is still unknown

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