Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he told visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel is “within touching distance of absolute victory,” and that Hamas’s defeat will be the “victory of the entire free world.”
In a rebuttal to the prime minister, five women released from captivity in Gaza during a weeklong truce in late November stated that “absolute victory” for Israel would only come with the release of the 136 hostages still in Gaza.
At the same time, Saudi Arabia is hosting a summit of foreign ministers from five countries in the region — Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, along with a representative from the Palestinian Authority — to advance a united Arab stance regarding the war in Gaza as well as political initiatives for when the fighting ends. The united front that Israel’s Arab partners and potential allies are building is increasingly at odds with the Israeli government.
And finally, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday warned Israel that it does not have “a license to dehumanize others,” the harshest criticism from the United States to date.
So in this week of statements and conflicting stances, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now?
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