News Roundup for July 12, 2023

July 12, 2023
Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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.

Help Us Improve the Roundup
Thank you for reading the J Street News Roundup! We are dedicated to providing the best free daily news roundup on this issue and your input can make it even better. Please take a few minutes to fill out this brief survey.

Top News and Analysis

Protesters Throng Israeli Airport After Government Moves to Rein In Judiciary, The New York Times
Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated across the country on Tuesday, blocking the road outside the country’s main airport and about a dozen other thoroughfares and clashing with police officers to protest an overnight vote in Parliament that advanced efforts by the far-right ruling coalition to limit judicial oversight of the government. Thousands of protesters poured into the street beside the main terminal at Ben-Gurion International Airport, honking horns, chanting slogans and holding aloft scores of Israeli flags, in a scene more reminiscent of a packed sports stadium than an airport taxi rank.

US Calls on Israel to Not Crack Down on Anti-government Protesters, Axios
The White House called on the Israeli government “to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly” after Israeli police made dozens of arrests and used force against protesters who rallied across the country against the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul. The unusual statement by the White House on domestic issues of an ally like Israel signals the growing concern of the Biden administration about the escalating internal unrest in the country.


As Protests Rage Across Israel, Diaspora Minister Accuses Biden of Colluding with Israeli Opposition and ‘Inflaming’ Unrest, JTA
Israel’s minister of Diaspora affairs accused the Biden administration of working in cahoots with the Israeli parliamentary opposition to inflame the antigovernment protests now sweeping the country. The accusation, made Tuesday morning in an interview on Kol BaRama, a haredi Orthodox radio station, came as crowds of protesters mounted demonstrations and shows of civil disobedience across Israel on what they are terming a “Day of Disruption.”

Hundreds Rally Against Overhaul in NYC as Israeli Expats Join Renewed Protest Push, The Times of Israel
Around 200 people demonstrated outside Israel’s consulate in New York City on Tuesday, as activists abroad joined the renewed protest push in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government advancing the first piece of legislation from its judicial overhaul package a day before. The crowd made up largely of Israeli ex-pats and American Jews chanted “shame,” and “democracy or rebellion.”

Ex-Israeli Air Force Brass Say Back ‘Every Form of Protest’ Against Judicial Overhaul, Including Refusal to Serve, Haaretz
Several former senior Israeli Air Force officers on Wednesday publicly backed potential refusal to serve by reserve pilots in response to the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul efforts. Several retired commanders, generals and other senior officers issued a letter on Wednesday morning, stating they would support “unconditionally every form of protest, including the immediate suspension of volunteering, fully recognizing the repercussions of ceasing flight activity.”

An Israeli Activist was Thrown in Jail for a Week — Over a Hat, +972
A left-wing Israeli activist who had been in jail for almost a week over a hat he wore to a protest was released by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning. Gil Hammerschlag, 31, was arrested by police in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 4 because his baseball cap featured a photo of a Palestinian man who was killed during a protest in the occupied West Bank two years ago.

US, Israel War Games Underscore Warnings to Iran on Nuclear Enrichment, Al-Monitor
The US and Israel on Sunday kicked off the second iteration of a new series of war games designed to enable the Israeli air force to partake in long-range strikes on strategic targets hundreds of miles away from the country’s own airspace. The Pentagon and the IDF’s announcements do not specifically mention Iran, but the second iteration of these joint US-Israeli war games within six months suggests the Biden administration is seeking to underscore its warnings to Tehran against further nuclear enrichment.

Opinion and Analysis

Israeli Protesters’ Blood Is on Netanyahu’s Hands, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “The spirit of Ben-Gvir, who is in charge of the police, is beginning to seep into the ranks below him, and it’s just a matter of time until he finds people who will be willing to “pay the price” Eshed wasn’t willing to pay and fill every hospital in Israel with Israelis who fear for the country’s future. And Netanyahu will be the one who spilled that blood. Those demonstrators’ blood will be on his hands.”

The US Reassessment of Netanyahu’s Government Has Begun, The New York Times
Thomas Friedman argues, “One of the most important Israeli and American shared interests was the shared fiction that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank was only temporary and one day there could be a two-state solution with the 2.9 million Palestinians there. Therefore, the US doesn’t need to worry about the now more than 500,000 Israeli settlers there. Some will stay when there is a two-state deal; others will go. Because of that shared fiction, the US has almost always defended Israel in the UN and the International Court of Justice in The Hague against various resolutions or judgments that it was not occupying the West Bank temporarily but actually annexing it permanently.”

What to Know About Palestinian Security Forces and Their Role in West Bank, The Washington Post
Miriam Berger notes, “The Palestinian security forces are among the last threads holding together the Oslo peace accords, which — three decades after the agreements were signed — are teetering on the brink of collapse as expectations of another uprising grow amid growing Palestinian disenchantment and as Israel’s far-right government escalates a crackdown on armed groups. As the situation deteriorates, the unrest has challenged the position of the Palestinian security forces, long essential to efforts by Israel and its allies to keep order, but increasingly undermined by Israeli raids and facing mounting antipathy from many Palestinians under their jurisdiction.”