News Roundup for January 13, 2023

January 13, 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

Action Memo: US Must Act Now Against Forced Relocation of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta, J Street Policy Center
The J Street Policy Center has just issued this Action Memo arguing that the Biden Administration should urgently press the Israeli government against carrying out a mass eviction of Palestinian communities in the Masafer Yatta area of the occupied West Bank.

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Gov’t Pledges to Advance Transfer of Swaths of West Bank Lands to Pre-1948 Jewish Owners, Haaretz
A clause in the coalition agreement between Likud and Religious Zionism says the government will instruct the head of the army’s Central Command to enable assets currently held by the Civil Administration to be transferred to their pre-1948 Jewish owners. This move is expected to facilitate settlement expansion and allow Israel to gain control over Palestinian-leased buildings.

President of Israel’s Supreme Court Attacks Judicial Changes, The Washington Post
The chief justice of Israel’s Supreme Court attacked the sweeping changes to the country’s justice system planned by the new conservative government on Thursday, lending her voice to a growing outcry against the proposed overhaul. Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut fired off unusually sharp rhetoric at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new justice minister, Yariv Levin, saying his proposed changes would amount to an “unbridled attack on the justice system.”

Mass Protests Expected on Saturday Night as Political Divide Deepens, The Jerusalem Post
Tens of thousands including many opposition MKs and prominent public figures are expected to attend a mass demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday night in protest of the government’s judicial reforms.


U.S. Jewish Groups Sound Alarm Ahead of Synagogue Hostage Standoff Anniversary, Haaretz
U.S. Jewish groups are sounding the alarm on the effects of rising antisemitism on American Jews’ sense of safety ahead of the one-year anniversary of a hostage standoff at a Texas synagogue. The American Jewish Committee, which is to release a survey comparing U.S. Jews’ and other U.S. adults’ opinions on the state of antisemitism in the U.S., said 87 percent of U.S. Jews felt less safe after the incident.

Lawyers Rally Outside Tel Aviv Court Against ‘Dangerous’ Judicial Overhaul, The Times of Israel
Hundreds of Israeli lawyers rallied Thursday outside a Tel Aviv court to protest against the government’s controversial plans to overhaul the judicial system. The rare demonstration by attorneys follows the justice minister outlining proposals such as allowing politicians to override Supreme Court decisions.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu’s Betrayal of Democracy Is a Betrayal of Israel, The Atlantic
Yossi Klein Halevi writes, “Most Israeli Jews, including committed democrats, regard the state’s Jewish identity as fundamental to its existence, perhaps even more than its democratic identity. After all, many democracies have experienced authoritarian phases and not only continued to exist as nations but eventually recovered their democratic identity. But an Israel stripped of its Jewishness would lose its reason for being, its internal cohesion, and the vitality that has enabled it to survive in a region hostile to its existence.”

Democracy in Israel Will End Before a Civil War Erupts, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer argues, “For all Israel’s problems, life here is still too good, for all of Israeli communities, to risk a civil war. Losing what is left of Israel’s fragile and limited democracy will be a terrible blow for many, perhaps even most, Israelis – but it won’t be worth going to actual war for.”