News Roundup for April 21, 2023

April 21, 2023

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

Top News and Analysis

Israel’s Right-Wing Government Has Jewish Democrats at a Loss, The New York Times
The signs of such strains are everywhere. At Ansche Chesed, a Conservative synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky has replaced the standard prayer for the State of Israel with a more spiritual psalm invoking peace in Jerusalem. Rabbi Kalmanofsky said that the Netanyahu government had crossed a line when it included in its cabinet Bezalel Smotrich, who has called for the separation of Jews and Arabs in Israeli society, and Itamar Ben-Gvir, who until 2020 hung a photograph in his home of a Jewish nationalist who killed 29 Muslim worshipers in the West Bank.

Diaspora Leaders Rally by Israel’s Supreme Court in Protest of Judicial Overhaul, Haaretz
Prominent Diaspora Jewish leaders marched on Israel’s Supreme Court Thursday afternoon to protest the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul, hours before they and other delegates to the World Zionist Congress were slated to vote on a resolution warning that the controversial legislation could jeopardize Israel-Diaspora ties.

Amid Concern, Far-Right MK Says If Made NY Consul She’ll ‘Work with All Jewish Orgs’, The Times of Israel
Likud lawmaker May Golan said Thursday she will work with all Jewish organizations as Israel’s consul general in New York, if she takes up an offer to serve in the high-profile diplomatic post. Her comments came after some Jewish leaders and former diplomats expressed concern the firebrand right-wing lawmaker could harm Israel-Diaspora ties.


Ben-Gvir Police Law Against Israeli Rule of Law, Adalah Tells High Court, The Jerusalem Post
Allowing National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to set policy for the Israel Police is against the rule of law, Arab-Israeli human-rights NGOs said Thursday in a petition to the High Court of Justice. The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel joined previous petitions against the so-called Police Law, saying it damages the rule of law by politicizing the police force.

PM, Gallant Tell Ministers and MKs To Leave Politics, Arguments out of Memorial Day, The Times of Israel
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday sent a letter instructing ministers and members of Knesset to avoid making political statements during next week’s Memorial Day, amid widespread concern the fraught political atmosphere could mar the day of mourning for fallen soldiers and terror victims, and further widen social schisms in Israeli society.

Opinion and Analysis

Why I’m Proud To Be a Jew, New Jersey Jewish News
Mark Lurinsky, member of the steering committee of J Street’s New Jersey chapter, writes, “Some say that Smotrich, Ben G’vir, and their cohort, due to their high offices, should be given the chance to “state their case” if and when they venture to the United States. I disagree. Jews with views such as these seek to destroy all of Judaism’s beloved ethical and moral traditions and turn our religion into a purely tribal practice. They are effectively spitting on the graves of our great rabbis, including my Cranford rabbi.”

The Importance of Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day, The Jerusalem Post
Gershon Baskin writes, “I have unending admiration for those courageous family members willing to stand on the stage before hundreds of thousands of people in the audience and online and tell their stories. Like many others, I have said that the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum is the organization I admire most in the entire world and pray I will never be a member of. In fact, we should all pray and work hard to ensure that no new members will join the family of the fallen.”

U.S. Jews Visiting Israel for the Federations’ General Assembly: It’s Time to Wake Up, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas implores those attending next week’s General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America to listen to the Israelis fighting for democracy.