GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening.
I'm Geoff Bennett.
Amna Nawaz is away.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: Israeli forces surround Gaza City, as calls grow for a pause in the fighting to aid those trapped.
We speak with an American family who made it out.
NOORA ABUHAMAD, American Evacuee: It's a great relief, like hot shower, great, great food.
But it's just an awful feeling knowing that we just left so many people behind.
GEOFF BENNETT: The founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX is found guilty of fraud.
What led to Sam Bankman-Fried's downfall and the implications for how crypto is regulated.
And reproductive rights are once again a key issue in several states where voters are heading to the polls for off-year elections.
(BREAK) GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour."
Israeli ground forces are still pushing deeper into Gaza tonight, as that government rejects calls for a cease-fire.
Video from the Israeli military showed soldiers in close-quarter combat today with Hamas fighters.
The army said it has encircled Gaza City,.And airstrikes blasted more targets above and below ground.
Meantime, Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived for meetings with Israeli leaders after President Biden had called for a humanitarian pause in the fighting.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. Secretary of State: With regard to humanitarian causes, again, we see this as a way of further facilitating the ability to get assistance in.
We see it as a way also, and very importantly, of creating a better environment in which hostages can be released.
GEOFF BENNETT: Secretary Blinken also warned the Palestinians will never be partners for peace, he says, if they are consumed by a humanitarian catastrophe.
But after meeting with Blinken, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected any halt in the Israeli offensive.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Israeli Prime Minister (through translator): I made it clear we continue with all the power, and that Israel refuses a temporary cease-fire that doesn't include a return of our hostages.
GEOFF BENNETT: Also today, Gazan authorities said Israel attacked an ambulance, killing and wounding a number of people.
Israel said Hamas fighters were using the ambulance and that the strike killed some of them.
Meantime, in his first speech since the Israel-Hamas war started, the head of Hezbollah in Lebanon suggested the militant group does not want to widen the war, but left open the possibility of escalating its ongoing conflict with Israel.
Hezbollah is aligned with Iran and has ramped up attacks on Israel and U.S. troops in recent weeks, raising fears of regional spillover.
Simona Foltyn has this report from Beirut.
SIMONA FOLTYN: In Southern Beirut, thousands of Hezbollah supporters gathered to hear their leader, Hassan Nasrallah, speak.
They and many in this region hung on every word, carefully listening for warnings of impending escalation.
But Nasrallah's tone was relatively measured.
He called for a cease-fire in Gaza and drew a line, at least for now, for Hezbollah's involvement.
HASSAN NASRALLAH, Hezbollah Leader (through translator): There are two goals today.
The first is to stop the aggression on Gaza, and the second is for the Palestinian resistance to be victorious in Gaza, and for Hamas in particular to be victorious.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Nasrallah said the October 7 attack was planned and carried out by Hamas alone in response to the worsening situation for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including killings, arrests, the expansion of settlements and the siege on Gaza.
HASSAN NASRALLAH (through translator): The Palestinians have suffered for 75 years, but the last years have been very harsh for Palestinians under Netanyahu's extremist government.
SIMONA FOLTYN: In light of this injustice, some are disappointed that Arab nations haven't taken a stronger stance against Israel.
Hassan Gharib traveled here from Lebanon's southern border, where Hezbollah has lost around 50 fighters in cross-border attacks with Israel since October 7.
HASSAN GHARIB, Hezbollah Supporter (through translator): We came here to stand with Gaza and Hamas, to help them prevail and to say that not all Arab nations will disappoint them.
No, we are the resistance, and we stand with Palestine.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Stand with Palestine, but not fight on its behalf.
Nasrallah's speech was not the call to battle some might have expected.
In fact, he said that Hezbollah was already part of the war, referring to ongoing clashes between the Israeli army and Hezbollah along Lebanon's southern border.
There is a sense here that Hezbollah does not want to escalate the conflict to a regional level and drag Lebanon into a full-scale war.
Lebanon has been at war with Israel several times before.
Dr. Tarek Charaf was a child when he was injured in the 1982 war, and says his country simply can't afford another.
DR. TAREK CHARAF, Lebanese Citizen: Lebanon is not in a position.
It cannot allow itself to go into war.
No matter what happens in the war, even if Hezbollah wins that war, Lebanon will lose.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Over recent years, the country has reeled from a crippling economic and financial crisis, leading to an almost complete collapse of the state.
DR. TAREK CHARAF: Because there is no state, and Hezbollah is instilling itself as the protectors of Lebanon, even the Lebanese who are against Hezbollah, when you push them to the corner and they have no other solution, they say, yes, we'd rather have Hezbollah than the Israelis.
SIMONA FOLTYN: For now, Nasrallah has lowered the temperature in a war that risks setting the entire region fire.
But he also warned that all options remain on the table, should Israel not de-escalate its bombardment of Gaza.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Simona Foltyn in Beirut.
GEOFF BENNETT: The Biden administration says its priorities include preventing the kind of regional escalation that Nasrallah warned about and evacuating American citizens from Gaza.
More than 380 Palestinian dual nationals and wounded were allowed to leave Gaza today.
That's according to Hamas.
It's unclear how many of those were Americans, but the U.S. State Department says about 75 of the 400 Americans who want to leave have made it out.
Nick Schifrin speaks with one of those American families who were stuck in Gaza.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Americans who woke up in Gaza on October the 7th found themselves in the middle of a combat zone.
The Hamas terrorist attack that morning included thousands of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.
And now Israel has waged war from the air, sea and land inside Gaza for three weeks.
One of the American families who managed to get out is Emilee Rauschenberger and her daughter Noora Abuhamad, who join us now from Cairo.
Thank you very much.
Welcome, both of you, to the "NewsHour."
Emilee, you were visiting your husband's family in Gaza.
Tell us, what does it feel to be out?
EMILEE RAUSCHENBERGER, American Evacuee: It's a huge relief.
I mean, it was just such a struggle, that we're so happy to be on the list and then through the gates.
And it's really a surreal experience just being out, because we just didn't know when this day would come.
Noora, how do you feel?
NOORA ABUHAMAD, American Evacuee: Absolutely thrilled, really.
It's a great relief, like hot shower, great, great food.
But it's just an awful feeling knowing that we just left so many people behind.
EMILEE RAUSCHENBERGER: We left 20 other members of our family in another apartment.
These are the people that helped us survive.
We split up the daily chores of getting bread and getting water and finding some place to charge our devices.
And we really worked as a team.
It's just an awful feeling to leave them behind and not be able to help them and not know when and if we will see them again.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Did you have second thoughts about leaving?
EMILEE RAUSCHENBERGER: No, not second thoughts, really, because you never know if that opportunity will come back.
NICK SCHIFRIN: You have mostly been in Southern Gaza in what Israel identifies as a safe zone.
But, Noora, let me show this photo of your room.
This is damage from an Israeli airstrike that was nearby.
Can you tell us what happened?
EMILEE RAUSCHENBERGER: Yes.
This is our family home in Abasan in the southeast of the Gaza Strip.
And if we had been there, my 14-year-old daughter and my 4-year-old would have been sleeping in those beds.
There was no safe area.
The south is not safe.
I had such a horrible experience where we stayed in the apartments, because apartments were bombed right around us.
It was just luck of the draw that it wasn't your building.
NOORA ABUHAMAD: The bomb that did break my window, it broke not just mine, but all the houses on the street of the -- of our house, all the windows gone, shattered.
It's a relief to just know that I'm safe right now.
Like, there's no chance of anything, like, hitting me or my family.
But then I think about the millions of people who every single hour, every single minute, every single night just hoping and praying that them and their family will be safe.
It's -- I know exactly how they feel right now.
It's just -- it's just devastating.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And do you think the State Department did everything it could to get you and your family out?
EMILEE RAUSCHENBERGER: I hope so.
I believe so.
But it is frustrating that it took so long, because we really felt in danger the whole time.
And that for a country that America is so close with, I would just hope that American lives on both sides of the border would have been equally able to leave as sooner than later.
It was just hard to understand why the border couldn't be opened.
We literally just had to get there and be processed across.
There was no checkpoints or anybody stopping us from within.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Do you accept the explanation from American officials that it is a lot more difficult to negotiate with Hamas, Egypt and Qatar as an intermediary than it is to evacuate from Israel?
EMILEE RAUSCHENBERGER: Again, I don't have any good insight into the issue, other than, again, what I saw, which is no resistance, nothing stopping us within the strip.
But, again, we were cut off from all communication, really hunkered down in an apartment.
So, I wouldn't have any good insight into that.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Emilee, Noora is your oldest child.
You have four younger ones.
What do you tell the younger ones about the violence?
EMILEE RAUSCHENBERGER: My 4-year-old was blissfully unaware, except bombs entered her vocabulary.
But my boys, they grew anxious and frustrated, and one was always fighting with other kids.
And so you could see the stress in other ways, even though they didn't really verbally go on about their fears and their anxieties, but it definitely had a toll.
I tried to explain that this is part of a larger regional conflict and it's complicated, but we do believe, one day, there will be a solution, and people in Gaza will be easier to visit and will have human rights that all humans deserve.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Emilee Rauschenberger, Noora Abuhamad, thank you very much.
Really appreciate your time.
GEOFF BENNETT: The morning Hamas terrorists launched their attack on Israel, there were thousands of innocent Gazan civilians inside Israel working day jobs or seeking medical care.
When the war started and the border crossing closed, they were left stranded.
Now, they have been told to go back to Gaza, but it's not clear how or when that can happen.
Leila Molana-Allen has the story.
LEILA MOLANA-ALLEN: Displaced and desperate.
Gazan patients and their families who came to Israel for medical care before the war now spend their days begging for news of their loved ones back home.
Raji is 11.
He came to Jerusalem for surgery in late September to give him back the sight in his left eye.
He still doesn't know if it worked, but, in the meantime, his world turned upside down.
His father and siblings no longer safe at home.
RAJI ASHOUR, Gazan Patient (through translator): My father was injured and our house was destroyed.
They fired a rocket at our house.
LEILA MOLANA-ALLEN: Thirty-nine-year-old Nisreen was in Jerusalem for breast cancer treatment when the terror attacks happened.
Her treatment is finished, but she's been stuck here ever since.
Back in Gaza, her three young children are still at home trapped under the bombardment of unrelenting airstrikes.
Lina and Youssef are 8 and 6.
Mohammad is just 2.
NISREEN FAQAWI, Patient (through translator): They are civilians who are not guilty, innocent children.
What did they do?
In previous wars, we were together.
They were hugging me and telling me that, "We are afraid."
Today, I am not with them.
LEILA MOLANA-ALLEN: Several times a day, she tries to reach them.
Sometimes, the line connects.
Sometimes, it doesn't.
NISREEN FAQAWI (through translator): I never know, are they alive or not?
They are very afraid.
I am their mother.
I blame myself.
I wish I had died and not come here.
LEILA MOLANA-ALLEN: This time, she's got through.
NISREEN FAQAWI (through translator): Hello, my love.
How are you, Youssef?
Are you happy?
What are you doing?
Are you playing, darling?
Don't be afraid.
You are my hero.
There, this is our life.
Over and over and over again, it comes, and they don't understand what's happening.
They're just children.
LEILA MOLANA-ALLEN: Watching the devastation of her home unfold, powerless, Nisreen feels she is losing her mind.
NISREEN FAQAWI (through translator): We have reached the point where children write their names on their hands, so that they can be identified when they're killed.
How much more can we take?
LEILA MOLANA-ALLEN: After we visited the hospital yesterday, Jerusalem police raided the ward, removing the patients and their families.
Israeli authorities later announced all Gazans in Israel would be deported.
Movement for Palestinians from both Gaza and the West Bank is heavily restricted even in peacetime.
They can only enter Israel for medical care or for work with very special, limited permits.
On the 7th of October, there were nearly 6,000 Gazan workers in Israel.
As soon as the attacks happened, their permits were immediately revoked.
So, they couldn't stay in Israel, but they couldn't go back to Gaza either.
Their only option was to seek refuge in Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
Here in Jericho, 1,500 workers are taking temporary shelter in university and police buildings.
The Palestinian Authority is doing what it can to help them, but is overwhelmed.
Gaza's unemployment is among the highest in the world.
Ibrahim wanted to make a better life for his kids.
The morning of the attacks, his work permit was taken away and his salary not paid.
Last week, his sister and four of her children were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Central Gaza.
IBRAHIM AL-ZAYEGH, Palestinian (through translator): For more than two days, they were under the rubble.
She was holding her children, but no one was able to save her.
LEILA MOLANA-ALLEN: Ibrahim's wife and kids are sheltering near al-Quds hospital in Gaza City.
This week, the IDF ordered the hospital to be evacuated, but the wounded and homeless staying there say they have nowhere else to go.
IBRAHIM AL-ZAYEGH (through translator): Since yesterday, my children have not eaten bread or water.
They have nothing.
Our bodies are here, but our minds and hearts are in Gaza.
I hate the night.
I pray to God it will remain daytime, because the night is a torment for them there.
LEILA MOLANA-ALLEN: For now, Ibrahim just wants to get home to his family.
If they survive the war, he knows the road ahead will be long.
IBRAHIM AL-ZAYEGH (through translator): We can all see what's happening.
Gaza will need 20 years to rebuild.
LEILA MOLANA-ALLEN: For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Leila Molana-Allen in Jericho, the West Bank.
GEOFF BENNETT: In the day's other headlines: U.S. employers slowed their hiring in October, but the labor market still showed signs of resiliency.
The Labor Department reports that, overall, the economy added a net 150,000 jobs last month.
That was down sharply from the 297,000 jobs gained in September, due partly to the auto strike.
Meantime, the unemployment rate rose slightly in October to 3.9 percent.
President Biden traveled to Lewiston, Maine, today, where a gunman killed 18 people last week.
The president and first lady laid flowers at a makeshift memorial to the victims and met with families and first responders.
After, the president appealed again for action to stop gun violence.
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: This is about common sense, reasonable and responsible measures to protect our children, our families, our communities, because, regardless of our politics, this is about protecting our freedom to go to a bowling alley, a restaurant, a school, a church without being shot and killed.
GEOFF BENNETT: This was the president's latest visit to a city torn by deadly mass shootings.
A White House spokesperson said today -- quote - - "We can't accept it as normal."
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide if a ban on so-called bump stocks violates federal law.
The attachments allow semiautomatic weapons to fire as rapidly as machine guns.
They were banned after the 2017 Las Vegas shootings when a gunman fired 1,000 rounds in 11 minutes and killed 60 people.
In Ukraine today, Russia launched its biggest aerial assault in weeks, nearly 40 drones across 10 different regions.
They spanned border to border, hitting the cities of Odesa and Kherson in the south, Lviv in the west and Kharkiv in the eastern part of the country.
The nighttime strikes set fire to commercial shops, homes, and public buildings.
Ukrainian officials said they expect attacks on the power grid again as winter sets in.
A record-breaking storm that ravaged Western Europe dealt a blow to Italy today, killing at least six people.
That brought the total death toll across Europe to 14.
Drone footage over Tuscany showed streets awash with standing water.
Many people said they lost everything in the floods and some took rescues into their hands.
MIRELLA DURINI, Tuscany Resident (through translator): Last night, the water started flowing from there, and it was quick like a flash.
My neighbors took my mother and her wheelchair and brought her to their house.
They picked her up on their shoulders, took her wheelchair, and rushed her away, and, with the help of a tarp, they carried her down the stairs.
GEOFF BENNETT: The storm dumped eight inches of rain on Tuscany in just three hours.
India's capital city was shrouded in a thick, toxic haze today.
The seasonal blanket of smog sent the air quality index in New Delhi to severe levels, and officials closed schools and banned some vehicles and construction work.
It made venturing outdoors hazardous to the health of locals and tourists alike.
MARCO, German Tourist: It's quite foggy.
And, of course, the smog, you can feel.
You can feel the dirt, the pollution of the cars.
So it's, for me, actually quite hard to breathe deeply.
So, we are saying it's a little bit like you have to cough the whole time.
GEOFF BENNETT: The smog is caused by farmers burning crop waste, coupled with a lack of wind.
A judge in New York barred lawyers in the Trump civil fraud trial from making statements regarding his staff.
Judge Arthur Engoron said former President Trump's attorneys have falsely accused his law clerk of bias.
The ruling came after Mr. Trump's son Eric finished testifying.
He said he relied on accountants to ensure that Trump Organization financial statements were accurate.
And on Wall Street, stocks finished their best week of the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 222 points today to close at 34061.
The Nasdaq rose 184 points.
The S&P 500 added 40.
And still to come on the "NewsHour": how reproductive rights are playing in this year's state elections; David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart weigh in on the week's political headlines; and families navigate the difficult task of talking to their kids about the Israel-Hamas war.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty for fraud and for his role in the collapse of the now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange.
John Yang looks at the significance of this case.
JOHN YANG: Geoff, it took a jury just over four hours to convict Sam Bankman-Fried on one of the biggest financial frauds in history.
Investors lost nearly $10 billion.
Afterward, federal prosecutor Damian Williams said crooked financiers should take note.
DAMIAN WILLIAMS, U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York: It's a warning, this case, to every single fraudster out there who thinks that they're untouchable or that their crimes are too complex for us to catch, or that they're too powerful for us to prosecute, or that they could try to talk their way out of it when they get caught.
Those folks should think again and cut it out.
And, if they don't, I promise well have enough handcuffs for all of them.
JOHN YANG: The maximum prison time in the seven charges that Bankman-Fried was convicted totals 110 years.
Crystal Kim is a New York-based crypto reporter for Axios.
She covered the five-week trial.
Crystal, the big moment in this trial was when Sam Bankman-Fried took the stand.
Always a gamble for a defendant to testify in his own defense.
He was on the stand for three days.
How did he do?
Did he help himself or hurt himself?
CRYSTAL KIM, Axios: Well, you're right to say that former federal prosecutors say that the best thing a defendant can do is to take the witness stand to explain in their own words what happened and why they're innocent.
But I think Sam did more damage than good.
He was evasive.
He couldn't remember key events or things he said, including congressional testimony, which the prosecution was only too happy to check him on.
His behavior only added fuel to the U.S. government's closing statements.
They counted it up and found that Sam's memory failed him more than 140 times during the cross-examination.
JOHN YANG: And the prosecution case, how effective was it, in your mind?
CRYSTAL KIM: Oh, the U.S. government had a solid case against Sam.
They had the testimonies of his three lieutenants.
That's Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh.
They all pled guilty.
And when they were asked who they committed these crimes with, they pointed the finger at Sam.
Not only that, but the prosecution had a mountain of evidence to support what they were saying.
JOHN YANG: You talk about that mountain of evidence, I read some six million e-mails, slack messages, other digital messages.
And yet this trial, for a complex financial - - white-collar financial fraud case moved very quickly.
It was 11 months between arrest and conviction.
How do you think the government was able to sift through all that evidence and present a case so quickly?
CRYSTAL KIM: I think the testimonies and the cooperation of their three key witnesses helped.
JOHN YANG: What does this mean for the crypto industry?
CRYSTAL KIM: Well, as you mentioned before, this is what U.S. prosecutors have called one of the biggest financial fraud cases in history.
It was a black eye to the industry that FTX, once the third largest crypto exchange in the world, collapsed.
That someone has finally been held accountable and -- for its collapse and the people burned in its process should be cathartic for the industry.
I think you will find some folks are taking victory laps.
JOHN YANG: And what about potential regulation or laws to regulate the industry?
Is this going to give impetus to that?
CRYSTAL KIM: It may.
There are a couple of crypto bills that are in circulation, but we will see if they see any progress in the months coming.
JOHN YANG: And this is not the last time that Sam Bankman-Fried is going to be sitting at the defendant's table in a court, courtroom.
Is that right?
CRYSTAL KIM: Right.
Well, Sam was taken into custody, and he will likely stay at Metropolitan Detention Center until his next trial, which is slated for March 11, 2024.
This relates to the bank fraud charge and bribing a foreign government official, though reporters at the trial have been debating whether the case gets dropped before then, given the prosecution's victory yesterday.
JOHN YANG: Crystal Kim of Axios, thank you very much.
CRYSTAL KIM: Thank you for having me.
GEOFF BENNETT: In the year-and-a-half since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion rights has been front and center in elections across the country.
And that will be true again on Tuesday, as races in several states could alter the abortion landscape.
In Ohio, voters will decide whether to enshrine reproductive rights in that state's Constitution.
And, in Virginia, control of the state legislature could decide the future of access.
Here for an on-the-ground look are Ohio Statehouse News Bureau chief Karen Kasler and Charlotte Rene Woods with The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Karen, this amendment, as I understand it, goes beyond abortion access, and it seeks to protect contraception.
What else does it do?
KAREN KASLER, The Statehouse News Bureau: It does.
It goes beyond just abortion rights and also contraception, but also guarantees access to fertility treatments.
It guarantees access to miscarriage care and continuing one's own pregnancy.
And that's kind of gotten some pushback from people who are opposed to this by saying that there's already miscarriage care allowed under Ohio law.
And the amendment uses the term individual, instead of woman, which they say opens the door to by -- problems with parental rights.
But the backers of this amendment have said parental rights will not be affected.
And the attorney general's legal analysis of that also said that parental rights are not addressed in this amendment.
GEOFF BENNETT: I know abortion rights supporters are winning in the money race.
They have far outraised opponents.
How does that translate into voter enthusiasm?
What's the expectation for Tuesday's vote?
KAREN KASLER: Well, $39 million raised by the supporters of Issue 1.
And they have translated that into a lot of ads.
So there's a lot of interest on that side.
The no side has raised about $27 million, so fewer ads.
But what we're seeing is a lot of interest in early voting, much more than we might expect in an odd-year election.
And I think that there's a lot of excitement about deciding these issues, because it's not only just abortion rights, but also marijuana legalization and regulation and taxes.
So that's important for a lot of people as well.
GEOFF BENNETT: And, Charlotte, the entire state legislature in Virginia is up for grabs this year.
Republicans are looking to flip control of the state Senate.
And Democrats warn that that could give the GOP the power to pass abortion restrictions.
Is that what this election is turning on?
What are you hearing from voters?
CHARLOTTE RENE WOODS, The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Abortion is definitely one of the I would say top two.
I think inflation and abortion are both very much on voters' minds right now.
I mean, we're all feeling the weight of inflation.
But then abortion, Virginia is the least restrictive state, Southern state, right now when it comes to access.
Our current law allows abortions up to 26 weeks, with some rare exceptions for later-term abortions that three physicians have to sign off on.
Most of the Republicans are proposing a Governor Glenn Youngkin-backed proposal for allowing abortions up to 15 weeks with exceptions afterwards.
There's the nuance there between the weeks that we will find out next week what we're going to go with.
And though all 140 seats are up for election, only about a dozen are actually competitive.
And it's very competitive.
And it's very competitive.
This is one of the most expensive off-off-election years.
And Virginia has an election every year and always tends to garner national attention.
But this year, with abortion at stake, it's definitely been a big one.
And I have spent some time down at, like, the Tennessee border, the North Carolina border.
Abortion funds are reporting more of an increase in out-of-state patients coming in seeking care.
So, yes, it's definitely a big one this year.
GEOFF BENNETT: Well, as you mentioned, Virginia is the last Southern state without a GOP abortion ban or abortion restrictions.
What are the bigger implications for this race?
CHARLOTTE RENE WOODS: I think it will also determine how much of an appetite there is nationally for restrictions, because we had 49 years of Roe v. Wade saying that this was a federal issue.
Most states that did have restrictions, like Virginia's 26 weeks, North Carolina's used to be 20 weeks, and there's no national definition for fetal viability.
It's sort of a case-by-case basis from -- that doctors make.
And it usually falls between 20 and 26 weeks.
So -- and then we remember, when Roe fell, obviously, Lindsey Graham was proposing a federal 15-week ban.
So, here in Virginia, you have got a spectrum of support from Republicans, though most are publicly backing the 15-week proposal.
Democrats are pushing hard to say -- to look at what states like Ohio are attempting to do, which is enshrine the protections into the state's Constitution.
That will be a whole, long process if that ends up being the case.
But, yes, this is one of the top issues on voters' minds this year.
It will determine the political landscape around abortion access and restriction, I think the same story that every other state has been telling in the past year.
GEOFF BENNETT: And, Karen, how will this Ohio amendment serve as a testing ground for statewide abortion fights expected next year, 2024?
KAREN KASLER: I think what's interesting is that Ohio has no statewide candidates on the ballot, only these two issues, abortion rights and recreational marijuana, along with local issues.
So that's a big deal.
Also, Ohio does have a ban on abortion after six weeks.
It's currently on legal hold.
So, right now, the ban is at viability.
And so there had been a lot of talk about what might happen to that six-week ban.
It would certainly almost certainly fall if indeed this issue does pass.
But there's some promises being made by Republicans, including Governor Mike DeWine, that, if this issue fails, they will go back and revisit that six-week ban, because it includes no exceptions for rape or incest, which he acknowledges that a lot of people don't support.
A lot of people want to see those exceptions.
GEOFF BENNETT: And, Charlotte, based on your reporting, are there any takeaways that Democrats and Republicans nationally could learn from what's happening in Virginia right now?
CHARLOTTE RENE WOODS: I think some of it is the messaging.
It's the B-word, ban.
It describes an action, but it is also being used as a label on these proposals.
So, Democrats are hurling the word ban at Republicans.
Republicans are brushing it off.
They really don't let that word attach to their proposal.
And the reality is, current law bans most abortions after 26 weeks, and the proposal would ban most abortions after 15 weeks.
So it's really interesting seeing the political messaging around this.
But I think, at the voter level, it's a little bit more simplistic.
I think people just really care, hey, if I support this do I want to make sure that myself, my family member, my friend can get this procedure if they need it or want it, or, hey, I don't support this, what can I do to make sure that there are less abortions happening?
GEOFF BENNETT: Charlotte Woods with The Richmond Times-Dispatch and Karen Kasler with Ohio Statehouse News, we appreciate your reporting and your insights.
KAREN KASLER: Thank you.
CHARLOTTE RENE WOODS: Thanks.
GEOFF BENNETT: We're going to take a deeper look now at the policy and political divides over the Israel-Hamas war.
On that and more, we turn to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.
That's New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post.
Good to you see both, as always.
DAVID BROOKS: Glad to see you.
GEOFF BENNETT: So, the Biden administration continues to push for a humanitarian pause in Gaza, but Israel has said that they will not stop its it strikes on Hamas.
Jonathan, what's your assessment of the Biden administration calling for this pause to allow aid in and hostages out and Netanyahu's response?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, one, it's the right thing for the president to do.
I mean, he's been clear from the very beginning that the United States stands squarely behind Israel, that Israel has a right to defend itself, and especially after such an horrific attack as was committed -- committed by Hamas.
At the same time, the president also has sent the message, said privately and publicly to the Israeli government, but, remember, you are a democratic nation, and, therefore, you must abide by the rules of war.
Over the past two weeks now or three weeks, over the last three weeks, the humanitarian portion of that conversation has gotten louder, as we have seen the death toll in Gaza rise.
There was a story last week about how the administration privately was urging the prime minister to be more surgical, don't do the ground invasion.
And as we have seen today, the prime minister, Netanyahu, is saying no to the cease-fire.
And I'm not sure what more the president and the United States can do to impress upon the Israeli prime minister that the road they're going down is not sustainable.
GEOFF BENNETT: How do you see it?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I think the Biden administration is doing the right thing.
The long history of terror -- wars against terror organizations suggests the smart thing to do, not only the kind, also the humane thing to do, is to separate the terrorists from the population.
And so I think a series of pauses would be a sign that Israel is at war with Hamas; it's not a war with the population.
And it would say, we're going to take the steps we take, even if it might hurt us militarily, to get the humanitarian relief in, to get people able to move.
So I think that's the first thing.
The second thing the Biden administration is right is that a cease-fire would be a disaster.
And, in my view, it would lead to more bloodshed in the long term.
Hamas has said even this week that they're very proud of October 7, they would do 100 October 7's, they would do a million October 7's if it would lead to the extermination of Israel.
And so when you have got a terror group that just wants to destroy you and is going to keep attacking, then your only mission is to take out that terror group.
And then the third thing which the administration is thinking about is what comes after.
And so that's a very tricky situation, but somehow it can't be the U.S. side, it can't be Israel then, obviously, but, somehow, somebody has to organize probably an Arab-led intervention force to administer Gaza.
And that force has to do counterterrorism, which is going to be calling upon a lot of it, because we don't want Israel to be doing counterterrorism in Gaza after this.
And so these are all different ways you can separate the population from Hamas.
And that's what -- that has to be the strategy here.
GEOFF BENNETT: In the meantime, the House passed its own Israel aid bill this past week, $14.3 billion.
That doesn't include aid for other foreign requests that the administration has, including assistance for Ukraine.
And this bill, Jonathan, as you well know, it's dead on arrival in the Senate.
President Biden has said that, if it ever reached his desk, he would veto it.
What do you make of this divide on the Republican side over foreign aid?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: I just -- it makes me wonder if Speaker Johnson is serious.
Is he serious?
Well, is he -- does he realize he's a constitutional officer and, now that he is speaker of the House, he has greater responsibilities?
And that is to the nation's national security and its defense.
Or is he going to continue to operate like a backbencher, whose sole job -- and a backbencher from an extremely safe district?
So, his only job is to throw bombs and to introduce legislation that will go nowhere.
Great for a backbencher, not great for a speaker.
And so if you're the Republican speaker of the House, and you send a bill to the Senate, where even the Senate Republican -- the Republican Senate minority leader says no, and there are a bunch of Republican senators who agree with that minority leader, but you send it anyway, what's your goal?
What's your objective, especially with the government shutdown looming in a couple of weeks?
I just don't understand.
I don't think he's taking this seriously.
And I hope he starts taking the job seriously sooner, rather than later.
GEOFF BENNETT: What's your view of Speaker Johnson's first full week in office and this debate over foreign aid?
DAVID BROOKS: I think he's -- I think, from what I can read, that he's doing the right thing.
And I will start with going back in history.
Franklin Roosevelt thought we had to go to war with the Nazis.
And the country was not there yet.
So he did a whole series of feints and maneuvers to maneuver the country to the spot where they thought, yes, we do need to go to war with the Nazis.
Now, comparing FDR to Mike Johnson is like comparing the Philadelphia Eagles to peewee football, so I'm not making that comparison.
But he has said that he supports aid to Ukraine, that he knows how important it is.
He's had private meetings with Lindsey Graham, for example.
And Graham has walked away thinking, this guy's a serious internationalist.
And so I interpret the gestures as, I'm giving this to my caucus, I'm giving that to my caucus, and we're going to take a series of steps, probably with Israeli aid first, but then it seems like Ukraine, our Southern border, somewhere down the line.
And I'm hopeful that all those three packages of aid will eventually get over the finish line.
GEOFF BENNETT: This assistance, though, is already delayed because of this drawn-out speaker battle, and now it's turning into a partisan fight and an intraparty fight.
What kind of precedent does that set?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, it looks terrible.
I mean, you look at the headlines, we really are, as so many have said, in one of the most perilous moments in our history.
The Hezbollah could attack.
Iran could get sucked in.
I mean, if you read the run-up to World War I, you can't figure out, like, how did the world stumble into this war that nobody wanted?
Well, we're not too far off.
And so, when you look at -- when you consider the downsides of what could possibly happen in the months and years ahead, the idea that we're stumbling and fighting over this stuff is going to look insane.
GEOFF BENNETT: What do you make of that, the stumbling and the potential unintended consequences of it?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Yes.
I mean, that concerns me.
And, also, I don't know, I hesitate to put too much trust in -- excuse me -- in Speaker Johnson's maneuvering his caucus into giving aid to Israel and then giving aid to Ukraine, when we still -- when he still has an even bigger challenge, and that's getting a continuing resolution passed so that the government doesn't shut down on November 17.
He still has that one-person motion to vacate hanging over his head.
And he's talking about either a continuing resolution through January, which some of his caucus say no way.
Then there's this laddered -- laddered shutdown or laddered C.R., which looks great on paper, but makes no sense in practice.
And even folks in his caucus are like, what does that even -- what does that even mean?
How is that going to work?
So, look, I want the guy to be successful.
I want the speaker to be successful, because, if he's successful, that means the government won't shut down, Israel gets its aid, Ukraine gets its aid, Taiwan gets its aid, America gets back into the business of being a stable leader in the world, as opposed to what we are now.
GEOFF BENNETT: Well, meantime, in the upper chamber, it appears Republicans have had it with Senator Tommy Tuberville's nine-month blockade of military promotions.
He's getting pushback locally in Alabama, but then, on the Senate floor, it was really extraordinary.
Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, he's a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
He said that Tuberville's blockade will be remembered as a -- quote -- "national security suicide mission."
You see the full quote there on your screen.
David, it also raises questions about whether the Senate confirmation process is broken and whether the Senate as an institution, I mean, that one person could wield so much power and gum up the works here.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
So, as a big PBS fan, I used to watch Tommy the -- or Thomas the Tank Engine.
(LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: And there's a phrase in Thomas the Tank Engine that is, it isn't wrong, we just don't do it.
And that's the kind of unofficial norm that every institution needs to survive and thrive.
We don't have rules about everything, but there are certain things we do around here.
And all those norms have been -- not all, but most have been eviscerated in the U.S. Senate.
I think back even Ted Cruz came to office, and he was in the Senate, I don't know, weeks, and he was already tearing the place down.
And so, if Tuberville is able to tear the place down on his own, that leads me to believe we are no longer in a place where we can allow single senators to block everything.
And that was the norm.
That was sort of the unofficial way of doing business, but only because people were basically responsible with it.
Now, if you can turn into a stick of diamond and make the whole Senate not work, and hence make the military not work, then we're not at a spot where we should have rules that allow one senator to stop everything.
GEOFF BENNETT: Is it time for a rules change?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Yes.
Yes, absolutely, there's time for a rules change.
And can I just say that Senator Tuberville, for him -- I don't know if you have shown the clip earlier in the show, but CNN's Manu Raju asked him about his holds on these promotions and the fact that the Marine commandant had a heart attack because he's not just the Marine commandant, but he's doing the job under him as well, two super full-time jobs.
And Senator Tuberville, former football coach, not member of the military, not a retired reservist or anything like that, said, well, he's got people who work under him.
He's already working long hours.
So what's the big deal?
I had to do the same thing.
I'm sorry, but coaching a football team, even if it's college football, is not the same as leading troops in battle.
It's not the same as sending men and women overseas to protect other countries and protect our national security and freedom.
And the idea that that guy can stand in the way of people, professionals, real people doing real jobs, not that football isn't real, but lives are not on the line in the way that the Marine commandant is, it's just -- it's offensive.
I want to say morally repugnant, but I think I may have gone overboard.
But you get what I mean.
(LAUGHTER) GEOFF BENNETT: Well, what is striking, David, despite all the pressure, Tuberville is entirely unmoved.
He says he's not changing a thing.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, it's a rare person who could be hated by his entire workplace and still keep going.
(LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: But he seems willing.
I think the big philosophical difference is, most of these senators, they think America has a role in the world.
And Tuberville may think that in the abstract, but if he's putting a minor issue ahead of that, then he doesn't really believe that.
And that idea that America has a role in the world, and if it doesn't play that role, the jungle will grow back, that is really -- that - - the movement away from that idea is the undercurrent of all of this, and that some people believe it does, and an increasing share of the Republican Party simply does not believe in America has a role in the world.
GEOFF BENNETT: David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, have a great weekend.
DAVID BROOKS: Thank you.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thanks, Geoff.
GEOFF BENNETT: Over the last few weeks, horrific images have emerged from Israel and the Gaza Strip, many involving children and young people.
Here in the U.S., Jewish American and Palestinian American parents and their children are grappling with the mental toll of a war thousands of miles away.
I recently sat down with some of those families.
How important is family?
LAILA EL-HADDAD, Journalist: It's -- I mean, family is everything.
Literally, the first thing I do when I wake up is, I check if everyone's alive.
GEOFF BENNETT: Palestinian-American mother and journalist LAILA El-Haddad says she constantly worries about her relatives in the Gaza Strip.
LAILA EL-HADDAD: They're human beings, and they're terrified.
And it's -- it feels overwhelming.
And we all feel kind of helpless, because it feels like it's -- right now, the way they describe it, it's them against the world.
GEOFF BENNETT: At home with her own children in Clarksville, Maryland, she says their understanding of what's happening in Gaza and the broader Israel-Palestinian conflict varies by age.
You have four children.
How do you help them deal with what you describe as this collective trauma?
LAILA EL-HADDAD: It's absolutely collective.
The older ones now get that there's -- this is sort of understood not just as a Palestinian struggle, but an anti-colonial struggle.
The younger ones, of course, want to know why no one is doing anything to stop this.
It's part and parcel of this -- what we expect to be a very long struggle for freedom.
It doesn't mean that they don't feel hurt and pain, but that's how they understand it.
GEOFF BENNETT: Laila's 15-year-old daughter, Noor, grew up going to protests in support of Palestinians.
She says she paints to express her identity and still remembers her trips to Gaza.
NOOR DAOUD, Daughter of Laila El-Haddad: I would swim in the ocean in the middle of the night, horseback riding.
It's just something special.
And having all those memories with those family members, not knowing if they're going to live, for me to visit them and have those memories again, is just really concerning.
GEOFF BENNETT: Twenty miles away, in Rockville, Maryland, clinical social worker Orly Zimmerman-Leizerov has spent most of her time the last few weeks counseling other Jewish and Israeli-American families like her own.
What have the last few weeks been like for you?
ORLY ZIMMERMAN-LEIZEROV, Clinical Social Worker: A nightmare.
I think I can safely speak for all Israelis that we're not OK right now.
We will never be the same.
This is -- there is no way for us to kind of really go back right now and be what we were before.
We all know people that have been murdered.
We all know people that have been captured and are still very much -- we don't know what's going on with them.
GEOFF BENNETT: What are some of the questions you get the most from parents about how to help their children understand what's happening?
ORLY ZIMMERMAN-LEIZEROV: Parents ask, how - - how should I share that somebody lost their life, that died?
In most cases, we help children understand it.
This is part of the natural cycle of life.
And that's not the case in here,helping children see themselves as safe, as protected.
We have the privilege here to talk with our children about being safe.
That's not something that, unfortunately, people in Israel have right now.
GEOFF BENNETT: The ongoing war has led to difficult conversations within families here in the U.S. and fear, given the rise of antisemitism and Islamophobia, especially after the murder of the 6-year-old Palestinian American boy Wadea Al-Fayoume.
RIYAD FARES, Parent: Our son has told us that he heard this story, and he himself fears for his safety and wonders why anybody would do that to a boy.
And, as he watches the news, he wonders why many children in Gaza as well have been killed.
GEOFF BENNETT: In Portland Oregon, Palestinian-American Riyad Fares and his wife, Krista, say, since the war started, their three children have sometimes struggled to feel accepted at school.
KRISTA SWANINGER, Parent: My son came home from school, and they had a long conversation on the playground about this.
And he's been struggling about talking with his friends and trying to reach to them for support, and not really getting the support that he wants from his friends, because some of his friends believe that the Palestinian people are bad.
And that hurts him to know that.
So, I try to listen and understand and be supportive and tell him that's not the case.
RABBI ARI LEV FORNARI, Kol Tzedek Synagogue: I got an e-mail from my kid's school principal here in West Philadelphia.
Kids are talking about this in the hallway.
And she's overhearing kids say, whose side are you on?
GEOFF BENNETT: Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari is the senior rabbi at Kol Tzedek in West Philadelphia and parent of a 7- and 9-year-old.
He says, while his congregants grieve, he also asks them to think critically about the decades-long Israel-Palestinian conflict and start those conversations with their own children.
RABBI ARI LEV FORNARI: Children can handle complexity, and they can think critically.
If we can teach them the scientific method, we can teach them to think critically about world events and politics and power.
There's no question that, in this moment, what Hamas did is an atrocity, and, at the same time, there is still a power -- there is still a power imbalance, and Israel has more power over the people of Palestine than Palestinians have over their own lives and certainly over Israelis.
And so I think we can teach critical thinking.
We can teach people to hear multiple truths.
GEOFF BENNETT: In Albany, New York, Orthodox Jewish American mother and cellist Laura Melnicoff says her two oldest children are curious about the war, and she tries to ease their growing concerns.
LAURA MELNICOFF, Parent: One of their babysitters that they had last year was visiting Israel at the time of the attack for the holidays.
So, when my 6-year-old has a specific concern about his babysitter, I just address that.
I say that we know that she's safe right now.
I don't tell him things like -- from the Monday that we heard that she was still there, and knowing that she had to wait until Thursday for a provisional flight home.
GEOFF BENNETT: Still, Melnicoff says it was important that her children learn to distinguish between the actions of Hamas and other Palestinians.
LAURA MELNICOFF: We wanted to make sure that they knew that the Palestinian people were not -- we didn't want to hear them coming home from school and talking about whole swathes of people being animals and things like that.
We wanted to make that distinction for them.
And at 6 and 9 years old, I think they were capable of that.
GEOFF BENNETT: Back in Rockville, Maryland Zimmerman-Leizerov says the lack of a clear end to the war makes it harder for both children and adults to cope.
ORLY ZIMMERMAN-LEIZEROV: Usually, in trauma situations or tragic losses, the event happens, there's an end inside, and then you can start the healing process.
Then you can start to accept it.
In this case, the -- it's so unpredictable, and there's so much uncertainty, that that really makes it very hard for us as adults to support children in this.
GEOFF BENNETT: For El-Haddad, faith and patience are important in her own family as the war drags on.
She says she's telling other families to channel their emotions into positive action.
LAILA EL-HADDAD: To be patient, but to have these conversations with them and to frame them in a context that they can understand that is humanizing.
GEOFF BENNETT: Conversations she says she's also having with her own children.
Since our interview, El-Haddad learned her aunt, three cousins, and another family member were killed in Gaza City.
Be sure to watch "PBS News Weekend" tomorrow for a look at how Hamas and other terrorist groups are using cryptocurrencies to fund their operations.
And tune into "Washington Week with The Atlantic" later tonight.
Jeffrey Goldberg and his panel will discuss House Speaker Mike Johnson's controversial approach to Israel funding and the unique set of challenges facing President Biden's reelection bid.
And, as always, remember, there is much more online, including a story about a congressional committee's recommendations for reducing how much patients pay for an ambulance.
And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight.
I'm Geoff Bennett.
Have a good night and a great weekend.