News Roundup for January 25, 2023

January 25, 2023

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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

Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian After Attempted Stabbing, AP
Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, Palestinian officials said, the latest death in a surge of violence. The Israeli military said the Palestinian tried to stab a soldier. The violence comes amid tensions over Israel’s new government, it’s most right-wing ever. On Wednesday, ultranationalist Cabinet minister Itamar Ben-Gvir promised to continue visits to a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site, despite pleas from neighboring Jordan that Israel maintain a delicate status quo at the site. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man shot as Aref Abdel Nasser Lahlouh, 20. The Israeli military said the man was carrying a knife and was shot after he attempted to attack a soldier at a military post. Video on social media showed a man running toward soldiers and then falling to the ground.

Locking Horns, Netanyahu’s Defense Min. and Far-right Ally Could Bring Israel to Its Knees, Haaretz
Amos Harel explains, “The battle over who wields authority in the West Bank between Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is also a minister in the Defense Ministry, continues despite the frequent declarations of willingness to reach a solution. The tension between the ministers is also affecting the government’s performance in the territories and could exacerbate the already fraught situation with the Palestinians.”


Israeli-Palestinian Poll Shows Support for Two-state Solution at All-time Low, Haaretz
A joint Palestinian-Israeli survey has found that support for the two-state solution has dropped to its lowest level since polling on the matter began in the early 2000s. The pollsters found that support for a Jewish-dominated state has surged among Israeli Jews. On the Palestinian side, the two-state solution still enjoys a plurality of support, but Gaza has replaced the West Bank as the area with the more moderate views.

Israel’s Netanyahu, King Abdullah Meet in Jordan on Temple Mount Tensions, The Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Tuesday amid tensions between the two countries over the Temple Mount, in a surprise visit that was publicized only after its conclusion. “The two leaders discussed regional issues, especially strategic, security and economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan, which contributes to regional stability,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Ben Gvir Vows To Keep Going Up to Temple Mount: I Don’t Follow Jordanian Policy, The Times of Israel
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says he will keep going up to the Temple Mount, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jordan’s King Abdullah II that he would preserve the status quo at the holy site. “I manage my own policy concerning the Temple Mount, not that of the Jordanian government,” Ben Gvir tells the Kan public broadcaster. “I went up to the Temple Mount; I will continue to go up to the Temple Mount.”

Israelis Abroad to Protest New Government’s ‘Coup D’état’, Haaretz
Eager to “take part in the fight to stop the coup d’état,” Israeli expatriates opposed to the new government’s plan to weaken the judiciary are planning a series of demonstrations across Europe and the United States this weekend in solidarity with the massive demonstrations held on Saturday nights in Israel in recent weeks. Rallies are slated to be held in Barcelona, Berlin, Munich, Oslo, Paris and Rome, among other places in Europe — as well as in Sydney, Australia. In the United States, protests will take place in Boston, New York, Chicago, Miami, Seattle and Los Angeles. In Canada, Israelis will take to the streets in Toronto and Vancouver.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu Drags Israeli Democracy Into the Illiberal Mire, The Washington Post
Ishaan Tharoor notes, “No matter — in the eyes of successive administrations in Washington and a bipartisan critical mass in Congress, Israel was a land of “shared values” and could do little wrong. Recent developments, though, are making the “oasis of democracy” look a little more like a mirage. After an extended period of political paralysis marked by a series of failed governments, Israel staged elections last November that returned Netanyahu for his third stint in power with arguably the most stable mandate any politician has won in more than three years. But to achieve this, the right-wing leader cobbled together the most far-right coalition in Israeli history, catapulting politicians from factions once considered beyond the pale in Israeli politics into leading roles in his coalition.”

As the Most Senior Jewish Member of Congress, I Now Fear Deeply for the U.S.-Israel Relationship, Haaretz
Rep. Jerry Nadler writes, “The alliance between our countries is, in large part, rooted in these high democratic principles. I fear deeply that this critical relationship could be irrevocably strained should Israel move forward with the Justice Minister’s proposed anti-democratic judicial amendments. I write these words out of love and as a representative of Americans for whom Israel is an essential element of their identity. I am heartened by the thousands who peacefully took to the streets recently to protest these changes and make their voices heard. It is incumbent upon all of us to speak out against these dangerous moves. As we have painfully learned in the United States, democracy is not something to be taken for granted. It is the responsibility of all of us, everywhere, to fight for it.”

A Coming Out Party for Israel’s Religious Jewish Left, +972 Mag
Yuval Abraham reports, “Hundreds of people crammed through the entrance of the first ever “Faithful Left Conference” in Jerusalem’s Hechal Shlomo building on Monday night, so much so that it was hard to move…About 600 Jews from different backgrounds and denominations — from Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) to national-religious to Masortim (traditional, not strictly observant Jews), and even a few secular Israelis — filled the hall for the event. Over the next few hours, speakers and participants dove deep into questions surrounding the occupation, feminism, religion and state, fighting poverty, and distributive justice.”