News Roundup for January 12, 2023

January 12, 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 lawmaker to Propose Bill to Annex Jordan Valley Area of West Bank, Fox News
An Israeli lawmaker is planning to introduce legislation to annex the Jordan Valley, an eastern strip of the West Bank that is home to roughly 30 Jewish settlements. Knesset Member Amb. Danny Danon is looking to propose the bill, which would make the area, which runs along the Jordan River from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, part of Israel proper. The region is part of what is known as Area C of the West Bank, which means it is already under Israeli control, but its residents live under Israeli military law.

Israeli Settlement Building Must Continue, Edelstein Tells US Envoy, The Jerusalem Post
Israeli settlement building must continue, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Yuli Edelstein told US Ambassador Tom Nides when the two men met on Wednesday. “I presented to Ambassador Nides my clear position about the necessity in the territory of the settlements in Judea and Samaria,” Edelstein wrote in a post he placed on his Facebook page after the visit.

Levin Unveils Bills to Neuter High Court, Deny It Almost All Means to Rein in Gov’t, The Times of Israel
Justice Minister Yariv Levin published draft bills on Wednesday evening that will enact his radical program to remake Israel’s judicial system and strictly limit the High Court of Justice’s authority of judicial review over Knesset legislation and executive action.


Israeli Opposition Calls for Protests over Netanyahu’s Judicial Reform Plan, Axios
The Israeli opposition is calling for mass street protests against the new government’s plan to weaken the Supreme Court and other democratic institutions. The plan, announced less than two weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government took office, has deepened political divisions and stoked fear among some that the heightened tensions could tear Israeli society apart.

Why Israel Won’t Change Course on Ukraine, Politico
Israel’s new far-right government is unlikely to change the country’s approach to the war in Ukraine, choosing to further walk a tightrope that avoids upsetting Russia and the United States.

Five-fold Increase in Immigration to Israel From Russia, Ukraine in 2022, Haaretz
The Russian invasion of Ukraine brought about a near tripling in the number of immigrants arriving in Israel in 2022, according to Jewish Agency figures. By contrast, after a sharp spike in 2021, immigration from the United States reverted last year to its pre-pandemic levels.

Opinion and Analysis

The Guardian View on Democracy in Israel: Under Assault from the Top, The Guardian
The Guardian’s Editorial Board writes, “Some in Israel have long warned that occupation was eroding its democracy, and that the effects felt first, and most deeply, by Palestinians would not end with them. Their words have rarely seemed more relevant, or urgent, than now.”

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is Also a Looming Climate Disaster, TIME
Aryn Baker discusses the environmental toll of the ongoing conflict.