News Roundup for December 22, 2022

December 22, 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

Netanyahu Announces New Government With Sweeping Powers to Far-Right Allies, The Washington Post
Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu announced the formation of the most far-right government in the country’s history Wednesday night, marking the imminent return of its longest-serving leader and granting an unprecedented portion of power to his far-right and ultra-Orthodox allies, who have vowed to make far-reaching legislative changes in the country. Netanyahu said the new coalition, which includes once-fringe ultranationalist and ultrareligious parties, would serve “all citizens of Israel.” He has said that he aims to swear in the new government in the coming week.

Ben Gvir To Get Position With Potential Legislative Veto, in Agreement With Likud, The Times of Israel
The far-right Otzma Yehudit party said Thursday morning that it had reached an agreement with incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party on the key content to be featured in their yet-to-be-signed coalition deal, hours after Netanyahu formally notified President Isaac Herzog that he had succeeded in cobbling together what will be Israel’s most hardline government yet. According to an Otzma Yehudit statement, the parties agreed to hand party leader Itamar Ben Gvir the deputy chair position on the ministerial panel that determines the government’s position on legislation, a role Ben Gvir has demanded in hopes of using it as a vehicle for veto power over bills he wants to quash.

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Israeli Forces Kill at Least 23 Palestinians in One Month, B’Tselem
Throughout October 2022, Israeli forces killed at least 23 Palestinians in the West Bank. Five of them were minors. It was one of the bloodiest months in the last decade – in the most lethal year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2004.

Watchdog: Under 1% of Israel Army Probes Yield Prosecution, AP
Israeli soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip over the last five years have been indicted in less than 1% of the hundreds of complaints against them, an Israeli rights group reported. The watchdog argued that Israel’s military systematically fails to conduct a credible prosecution of itself.

Germany Just Took a Drastic Step Toward Criminalizing Palestine Activism, +972 Mag
A new report published by the German Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK) that focuses on “prevention and intervention against Israel-related antisemitism” is pushing for further crackdowns on pro-Palestine solidarity, and even discusses moving toward the criminalization of this kind of speech and activism.

Israeli Forces Nab Hamas Member Over Northern West Bank Shooting Attack, The Times of Israel
Israeli security forces on Wednesday afternoon arrested a member of the Hamas terror group suspected of being involved in a shooting attack in the northern West Bank over the weekend, police and the Shin Bet security agency said.

Settlers Plan Event at Amona Despite Ban, Haaretz
Settlers plan to violate a military order barring civilians from the former unauthorized West Bank outpost of Amona with a tree-planting event at the site on Thursday. The order has been in place since 2017, when the residents of Amona were evicted.

Opinion and Analysis

Do Not Succumb to the Ben-Gvir Law, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el argues, “The attorney general must not become the set manager of Ben-Gvir’s law and therefore its partner. The attorney general’s role is to state in no uncertain terms that the law demolishes the separation of powers, grants dangerous authority to a bully and turns the police into a political militia. Yes, gatekeeping is a risky and thankless job.”

Why We’ll Fight Israel’s New Extremist Political Agenda With the Determination of the Maccabees, JTA
President of the Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Rick Jacobs writes, “We will not stand idly by while the most important project of contemporary Jewish life, the State of Israel, is led down the road of autocracy by extremists. Instead, we will renew our dedication to the State of Israel as a safe home for all her citizens and the democratic, pluralistic homeland of all Jewish people. We refuse to allow extremists to subvert religious equality in Israel.”

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