News Roundup for February 2, 2023

February 2, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Jets Strike Hamas Site in Gaza After Rocket Fired, AP
Israeli aircraft carried out several raids at a militant site in the Gaza Strip early Thursday, the Israeli military said, hours after Palestinian militants fired a rocket into Israel’s south, raising already heightened tensions under the country’s new ultranationalist government. The Israeli military said the airstrikes targeted a rocket production workshop for the militant Hamas group, which controls Gaza. It said the site contained raw chemical materials. There were no reports of casualties.

Prominent Jewish Leaders Add to Drumbeat of Criticism of Israel’s New Government, JTA
A slate of 169 prominent American Jews, including former leaders of major mainstream Jewish organizations, called on U.S. politicians not to conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism, a signal of worsening relations between the new far-right Israeli government and the U.S. Jewish community. The statement Wednesday signals increased anxiety among Jewish leaders about how to maintain support for Israel when it is led by a government promoting policies alien to the values of an overwhelmingly liberal American Jewish community. It also departs substantially from a pro-Israel community that has sought to label various forms of criticizing Israel as antisemitic.

Nearly 170 Leading U.S. Jews Call for ‘Critical and Necessary Debate’ on Israel’s Far-right Gov’t, Haaretz
The joint statement — whose signatories include the former heads of four major rabbinical seminaries, two former policymakers, three retired ambassadors and senior past leaders of Jewish Federations, the United Jewish Appeal, AIPAC, and the Obama administration — was released acknowledging both the latest escalation of violence plaguing the region and current political considerations on the ground in America.


Netanyahu Outlines Vision for Two-State Solution – Without Palestinian Sovereignty, CNN
Sitting down for an exclusive interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Netanyahu signaled clearly that it is extremely unlikely Israel and the Palestinians will make any measurable progress toward a long-term peace anytime soon. Netanyahu made clear that while he’s “open” to negotiations with the Palestinians and is willing to cooperate with them on security matters, not much else will move.

Israel Conducting Policy Review of Its Response to Ukraine War, Axios
The new Israeli government is conducting a policy review of its response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the possibility of supplying defensive weapon systems to Kyiv, three Israeli officials told Axios. Israel is under growing pressure from the Biden administration, members of the U.S. Congress and other Western governments to provide military aid like missile defense systems to Ukraine.

For 9th Time, Israeli Gov’t Asks Court to Delay Deciding on Evicting West Bank Village, Haaretz
Israel’s far-right government requested a ninth extension until June 1 from the High Court of Justice regarding the petition to evacuate the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank, adding that they “remain firm” in their commitment to evict the residents of the strategic hamlet.

Iran Blames Israel for Isfahan Drone Attack, Vows Revenge, Reuters
Iran blamed Israel for a drone attack on a military factory near the central city of Isfahan, the semi-official ISNA news agency said on Thursday, vowing revenge for what appeared to be the latest episode in a long-running covert war.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Government Is Trying to Turn the Film Industry into a Propaganda Arm, The New York Times
Documentary filmmaker and journalist Noam Sheizaf writes, “[T]he story here is bigger than the fate of a film, or even the entire industry. One cannot maintain a democracy for its citizens along with military dictatorship for its noncitizens, without consequences. Israel managed to avoid them for a long time, but now its moment of truth has come.”

Will the National Security Council Fulfill Their Duty?, The Jerusalem Post
Former Director General of The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Avi Gil reflects, “Will Israel’s position as a focus of pride and identification for Diaspora Jews plummet? And as a consequence, will we find it difficult to obtain Jewish political and financial support in a time of dire need? Could deepening criticism of Israel encourage a further increase in antisemitic phenomena? We must not forget that the National Security Council was established as part of the lessons drawn from the failures of the Yom Kippur War. It is our highest duty to alert the government ahead of time of any possible harm to Israel’s national interest.”