News Roundup for August 17, 2023

August 17, 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

What’s Pro-Israel Activism’s Future Amid Netanyahu’s War on Democracy?, The Jerusalem Post
Former Legislative Director of AIPAC Douglas Bloomfield writes, “AIPAC has plunged into partisanship with a hard turn to the Right, embracing Evangelical Christians, hardline conservative Republicans, and election deniers whose views on everything but Israel were largely anathema to the mainstream Jewish community. […] J Street clearly has AIPAC worried. It offers an alternative vehicle for expressing support for Israel but not for extremists like the Netanyahu government or Trump acolytes.”

Top News and Analysis

Two West Bank Outposts to Be Expanded After Israel Retroactively Authorized Them, Haaretz
The outposts of Asael and Avigail had been built without authorization and were retroactively approved by the Israeli government six months ago. Now, Avigail is to double in size while the area of Asael will be 18 times larger, according to the Kerem Navot nonprofit.

As Israeli Settlements Thrive, Palestinian Taps Run Dry. The Water Crisis Reflects a Broader Battle, AP
Palestinians say they can barely get enough water to bathe their children and wash their clothes — let alone sustain livestock and grow fruit trees. In sharp contrast, neighboring Jewish settlements look like an oasis. The struggle for water access in this strip of fertile land reflects a wider contest for control of the West Bank — and in particular the Jordan Valley.


Smotrich Said Aiming to Allocate $180 Million to Settlements, Including Illegal Outposts, The Times of Israel
Smotrich is advancing the move with Settlements Minister Orit Strock of his far-right Religious Zionism party. The plan will be brought up for a government decision at the coming weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Milley to Visit Israel as US Concerns Grow Over Israeli Military Crisis, Axios
Thousands of Israeli reservists have suspended their service over their opposition to the right-wing government’s weakening of the country’s Supreme Court. Milley’s visit will enable the Biden administration to assess the crisis, and whether it could have any implications for US forces in the Middle East.

Israeli Tech Startups Flock to US Amid Uncertainty at Home, Reuters
A growing number of Israel’s tech startups are incorporating in the United States, attracted by deep pocketed US funds and pro-business policies, and with an extra push from a planned judicial overhaul at home that has rattled investors.

Israeli and Lebanese Army Reps Meet at Border, Discuss Rising Tensions, Haaretz
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon Chief expressed concerns over ‘a series of incidents along the border in recent months that have escalated tensions.’ Since the end of the 2006 war, regular meetings have been held between representatives from the IDF and the Lebanese Army.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Foreign Minister is Trying to Delegitimize Arab Citizens, The Jerusalem Post
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir writes, “This law is part of a larger plan to delegitimize Arab-Israeli society. The fact that it passed with a majority of 19 against only six is yet another proof that members of the opposition have yet to realize that Israel’s Arab citizens are just the first and most vulnerable casualty on the way to the destruction of Israel’s democracy.”

Netanyahu Is Running Scared of Israeli Media, New Lines Magazine
Neri Zilber notes, “For his part, Netanyahu has tried to project an image of “business as usual” to the outside world — but also to his domestic subjects. Given the lack of any real questioning in Hebrew, the local press is left to scour the prime minister’s English-language utterances for clues as to his intentions, which then become major news inside Israel.”

Any Saudi-Israel Deal Must Include the Palestinians — For Israel’s Sake, Newsweek
Dan Perry and Gilead Sher argue, “Instead of promoting an Israeli-Palestinian disengagement into two distinct nation-states with a border between them, Netanyahu’s coalition promotes the opposite, speeding up Israeli settlement, eliminating prospects for an eventual egalitarian and peaceful future, exacerbating a daily security nightmare, and inexorably transforming Israel into a binational, non-democratic state. In effect, Israel needs divorce from the Palestinians much more urgently more than a wedding with Saudi Arabia.”