News Roundup for December 16, 2022

December 16, 2022
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J Street News Roundup

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

Israeli Commander Backs Forces in Death of Palestinian Girl, AP
An Israeli commander on Wednesday expressed support for forces that shot and killed a teenage Palestinian girl in the occupied West Bank earlier this week. A preliminary investigation by the Israeli military concluded that Jana Zakarna was hit unintentionally by Israeli fire during a military operation in the West Bank town of Jenin on Monday. Her family has disputed the findings.

Bill to Expand Powers of Far-right Netanyahu Allies on West Bank, Hold Office Passes First Vote, Haaretz
Several bills set to expand the powers of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right allies passed a first vote on Thursday evening, further paving the way for the incoming government to come into fruition. The Knesset passed a first vote of a bill granting Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich effective control over life in the West Bank. This bill, along with another seeking to pave the way for a key Netanyahu ally to be appointed as a minister despite being a convicted criminal, were coupled as one piece of legislation so that they will be presented together in a final reading of the bill.


Unilever Settles Israel Dispute With Ben & Jerry’s Board, The Guardian
Unilever said on Thursday that its litigation with the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s over the sale of its Israeli ice cream business has “been resolved”. The company did not provide details of how the litigation had been resolved.

Existential Threat’: Hi-tech Execs Warn Netanyahu Against Undermining Israel’s Justice System, Haaretz
Senior figures in the Israeli high-tech industry published a letter addressed to Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in which they expressed their concern that the legislative actions of the incoming government might have “devastating consequences for the economy in general and the high-tech industry in particular.”

Netanyahu, Set To Return to Office, Eyes Deal With Saudis, The Washington Post
Israel’s designated prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Thursday vowed to seek full diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia once he takes office, claiming that doing so would also promote peace with the Palestinians. Netanyahu also said he would be open to restarting behind-the-scenes peace talks with the Palestinians.

Trump To Address Conference of Orthodox Jews in Wake of West-Fuentes Controversy, The Times of Israel
Former US president Donald Trump is set to address a conference organized by a Haredi Orthodox education group weeks after his dinner with two prominent antisemitic figures sparked a wave of criticism. Trump will speak Friday at the annual President’s Conference of Torah Umesorah, Politico reported on Thursday, during a days-long event at his National Doral club in Miami.

Opinion and Analysis

Why Optimism About the Prospects of the Two-State Solution Is Justified, Palestine-Israel Journal
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir writes, “[T]the peace camp in Israel and the pro-peace American Jewish community must abandon the melancholy that characterizes them and start working to promote their beliefs and values. Anyone who wants Israel to be a model state of Tikun Olam and humanistic values should roll up their sleeves and start working to make it happen. Such a move is both possible and necessary for the future of Israel and the entire region, and if not now, when?”

Israel’s Religious Zionists Gained Ground in the November Election, The Washington Post
Brendan Szendro explains the Religious Zionist movement in Israel, and why it’s gaining popularity.