News Roundup for August 10, 2023

August 10, 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.

J Street In the News

Diplomats Should Represent the Country, Not the Government, The Jerusalem Post
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir argues, “The Foreign Ministry is demanding that Israel’s official representatives around the world portray Israel as a “strong democracy” even as the government is removing the checks and balances of the democratic system and severely undermining the independence of the judiciary. This is a genuine Orwellian attempt to portray a campaign to crush the judiciary as “preserving the independence of the courts.”

Top News and Analysis

September Showdown: Israel’s Branches of Government to Face Off in Three Key Cases, The Times of Israel
Israel is going to witness an unprecedented showdown between its branches of government next month, with the High Court of Justice set to hold hearings on petitions against amendments to two Basic Laws passed by the coalition and another motion aimed at forcing Justice Minister Yariv Levin to convene the Judicial Selection Committee.

No Agreed ‘Framework’ Yet for Saudi Arabia-Israel Deal, US Official Says, Newsweek
Negotiations between the United States and Saudi Arabia on a deal for the Gulf state to normalize relations with Israel remain ongoing but still lack an “agreed-to-framework,” according to a senior Biden administration official. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that officials from the US and Saudi Arabia had agreed to the outlines of a deal for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel.


Liberal Jewish Scholars, Leaders Urge Increased Focus on Palestinians in Protests of Israeli Judicial Overhaul, JTA
Hundreds of American Jewish academics and other public figures, in two letters published in the past week, are calling for US Jewish groups and President Joe Biden to draw a closer link between the overhaul and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Bibi Wants Security Agreement from Biden as Part of Mega Saudi Deal, Axios
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to get a security agreement with the US focused on deterring Iran in the context of the mega-deal the Biden administration is trying to reach with Saudi Arabia and Israel, four Israeli and US officials told Axios.

US Pushes Back on White House Invite Claim as PM Seen Trying to Raise Visit’s Profile, The Times of Israel
The Biden administration on Wednesday doubled down on its pushback against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s persistent claim that US President Joe Biden has invited him to the White House, an apparent effort to raise the meeting’s profile.

Benjamin Netanyahu Is On Vacation — These Protesters Followed Him There, The Forward
Heavy police forces met protesters at Neve Ativ, a moshav in Israel’s northern mountains where the Prime Minister is vacationing. After police blocked the entry to Neve Ativ, protesters began to hike several kilometers up the mountain toward the village.

Opinion and Analysis

How Much Damage will Israel’s Smotrich Funding Cut Do To East Jerusalem, Arab Towns?, Al-Monitor
Rina Bassist writes, “Many fear that cutting education funds from East Jerusalem will leave young people with fewer options, making them more likely to turn to extremism. Meanwhile, cutting development funding for Arab towns and villages is widely perceived as racism against Israeli civilians and illegal, since it was already approved last year by the government.”

Israel and Saudi Arabia’s Proposed US-Brokered Deal Is No Sure Thing, The Daily Beast
David Rothkopf argues, “Achieving such a deal would be highly complex, getting elements of it approved in the fraught political environments in Israel and the US would be difficult (the Saudi monarchy doesn’t face such obstacles). Implementing and keeping the deal would be profoundly challenging. China, Russia, Iran, and a host of their allies would likely make getting to or maintaining such a deal difficult. Any further shift to the right in Israel could be a deal killer.”