News Roundup for April 28, 2023

April 28, 2023

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Top News and Analysis

Supporters of Israel’s judicial overhaul rally in Jerusalem, AP
“Tens of thousands of right-wing Israelis who support a plan by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to overhaul the judiciary flocked to Jerusalem on Thursday to rally for the proposal, which has prompted some of the biggest protests in Israel’s history. After 16 weeks of protests against the overhaul that brought parts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to a standstill, Thursday marked a rare mobilization of massive public support for the divisive plan. Crowds of Israelis transformed a major Jerusalem thoroughfare into a sea of blue and white national flags. Some protesters stomped on a carpet displaying the faces of Israel’s Supreme Court president and former attorney general.”

In Jerusalem, DeSantis Says U.S. Shouldn’t ‘Butt In’ to Israel’s Judicial Overhaul Debate, Haaretz
Presumptive Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis lobbed a series of jabs at the Biden administration on Thursday, criticizing the U.S. President’s record on Israel while visiting Jerusalem for a conference celebrating the country’s 75th anniversary. “My view is that the United States should be a strong ally to Israel but we should not butt into their internal affairs,” DeSantis told reporters following a speech at the “Faces of Israel” conference at Jerusalem’s Museum of Tolerance.

An uncompromising right could drag Netanyahu down a more hardline path, Times of Israel
Shalom Yerushalmi warns, “Thursday’s impressive rally in Jerusalem, which drew some 200,000 right-wing supporters, could drag Netanyahu back in a direction he does not desire. In many respects, it was a demonstration against Netanyahu, and not for him…A closer look at the turnout for the rally shows Likudniks were a minority. Rather, the event was in effect a massive shul gathering of the national-religious camp, with participants who showed no inclination whatsoever toward dialogue or compromise with the opposition. The masses came mostly from settlements and yeshiva high schools. Likud members who did attend were of the variety that dismissed as a non-starter any prospect of tempering the legislation.”


Netanyahu’s Lawyers Push for Criminal Mediation With Israel’s AG in PM’s Corruption Trials, Haaretz
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyers met on Thursday with Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, attempting to convince her to agree to undergo criminal mediation in the premier’s ongoing corruption trials. This is the first such meeting between the two sides.

IDF: Palestinian attempts ramming, stabbing near Ariel in West Bank, is shot dead, Times of Israel
A Palestinian man attempted to carry out a car-ramming and stabbing attack in the West Bank on Thursday afternoon and was subsequently shot dead, the military and medics said. According to the Israel Defense Forces, the man drove onto the opposite lane on the Route 5 highway, and tried to ram his car into civilians and security forces at the Gitai Avisar Junction near the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The suspect then got out of his car while allegedly brandishing a knife, before being shot dead by troops.

Menendez, Risch to introduce resolution honoring Israel’s 75th anniversary, Jewish Insider
Unlike the House’s 75th anniversary resolution, the Senate legislation addresses and offers support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The House bill’s failure to mention Israeli-Palestinian peace, or a two-state solution specifically, prompted several prominent Democrats, including the resolution’s two Democratic co-sponsors, to release a separate statement lamenting the omission.

IDF troops detain terror suspect in Jenin, clash with Palestinian gunmen, Times of Israel
The Israel Defense Forces said troops entered Jenin to arrest a Palestinian man wanted for his alleged involvement in terror activity and arms dealing, after receiving intelligence about the suspect’s whereabouts from the Shin Bet security agency. The suspect was detained, and a cache of firearms, weapons parts, and other military equipment was seized, the IDF said.

Opinion and Analysis

The Fight Against Israel Becoming Another Hungary or Poland, Washington Jewish Week
Orni Petruschka writes, “To support our cause is to denounce the people who have declared war on the liberal foundations engraved in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. We will continue our fight in Israel — but we need you to join us in fighting its US-based foundation. We hope to find allies in the U.S. Jewish community who can use all the levers of pressure at their disposal against the organizations working to destroy Israel’s democracy.”

Visiting Jerusalem, Ron DeSantis tries out his Jewish stump speech, JTA
Ben Sales observes, “Most of the Florida governor’s remarks reflected what has become Republican orthodoxy in the post-Donald Trump era: He supports Israeli West Bank settlements as well as keeping Jerusalem under full Israeli control. He wants the United States to be more aggressive toward Iran’s nuclear program. He vehemently opposes the movement to boycott Israel. And he declined to take a position on the Israeli government’s effort to sap the Israeli Supreme Court of much of its power — which President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has repeatedly criticized as a danger to Israeli democracy.”

This Pro-settler NGO Has Been Shaping Israeli Policy for Years. Now, It’s in Control, Haaretz
Hagar Shezaf details the influence and ambitions of Regavim.

Beware Netanyahu’s Smoke-and-mirrors Show. Israeli Democracy Is Still in Danger, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas argues, “The deceptive phase of “talking” is currently taking place at the President’s Residence, where a “negotiation” on a “compromise,” based on an “outline,” is supposedly being discussed. But there is no negotiation, there is no feasible outline and there certainly cannot be any “compromise.” Compromising on democracy is an oxymoron – that is a road to political hell paved with sinister intentions or inexcusable naivete. Compromising on rights is not a viable option. Ever. When you compromise just a little on democracy and a few rights, you have lost everything. Look at Turkey, Hungary and Poland.”