News Roundup for January 23, 2023

January 23, 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

Netanyahu Fires a Top Minister to Comply With a Supreme Court Ruling, The New York Times
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Sunday dismissed a senior minister recently convicted of tax fraud to comply with a Supreme Court ruling that disqualified the minister from serving, shaking the right-wing government just weeks after it came to power. By complying with the court’s ruling to remove the minister, Aryeh Deri, Mr. Netanyahu avoided an instant, head-on clash with the judiciary at a time when the country is already locked in a fierce debate over government plans for a judicial overhaul.

Over 100,000 Protest Against Netanyahu’s Government in Israel, Axios
Over 100,000 people across Israel on Saturday rallied against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government amid growing anger over the ruling coalition’s plans to weaken the Supreme Court and other democratic institutions. It’s one of the biggest shows of public protest against an Israeli government in years. It also comes amid an unprecedented standoff between the government and the judiciary.


Israel’s Culture Ministry Bans Gov’t-funded Events on Shabbat in Peripheral Municipalities, Haaretz
The Culture and Sports Ministry has ordered municipalities in Israel’s periphery not to hold activities and events on Shabbat for free or for a subsidized fee on weekends. Until now, the municipalities could hold activities throughout the weekends regardless of Sabbath hours.

‘Attack on Freedom’: Israel Moves To Claw Back State Funds From Critical Films, The Guardian
Israel’s culture minister is attempting to revoke state funding from two documentary films dealing with the occupation of the Palestinian territories, increasing concerns that the country’s new hard-right government will follow through on promises to crack down on dissenting voices.

Report: PM Told US National Security Adviser Judicial Overhaul Will Be Softened, The Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan that the government’s controversial judicial overhaul will not be as dramatic as has been presented, according to a TV report Sunday.

‘We’re Listening,’ Israel’s New Diaspora Minister Says in First Public Comments in the US, JTA
The new Israeli government is listening to the concerns of more liberal Jews, Israel’s new minister of Diaspora affairs said on Thursday. But Amichai Chikli said that while some proposed changes that worry Americans — including an overhaul to the country’s Law of Return — would happen slowly, any criticism is largely misplaced.

Unjustifiable Killing,’ Army Report Says on Palestinian Shot by Soldiers, Haaretz
Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man earlier this month, but an investigation by the army uncovered significant gaps between versions of events given by the soldiers involved. The IDF’s initial report stated that 45-year-old Ahmed Kahla, a father of four, arrived by car at a military post near the town of Silwad, north of Ramallah, and began throwing stones. After which it was said that he approached the soldiers at the post with a drawn knife.

Opinion and Analysis

Weakening Israel’s Judiciary Poses Real Risk to Foreign Investmen, Haaretz
Sami Peretz reports, “A study by the Israeli Democracy Institute examined the economic implications of a weakening of the judiciary in other countries, finding that the Israeli government’s plans pose a real risk to its credit rating and foreign investment.”

Religious Zionists Have Captured the State. What Will It Mean for Palestinians?, +972 Mag
Ameer Makhoul writes, “Unlike Israeli Jews, who are opposing the government to protect the status quo, Palestinians across the Green Line are fighting a more existential danger.”