News Roundup for July 17, 2023

July 17, 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.

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J Street In the News

‘Prime Minister Netanyahu Does Not Have Both Hands on the Steering Wheel,’ Democratic Senator Says, Haaretz
“Two leading Democratic senators say they cannot recall a time when the situation in Israel was so dire, after witnessing firsthand unprecedented settlement expansion in the West Bank, increasingly harsh treatment of Palestinians and Israeli democracy in peril. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Jeff Merkley, both of whom have decades of experience dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, spoke to Haaretz after an under-the-radar visit to the Middle East earlier this month. Along with fellow Democratic Ben Ray Luján, the senators – both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – visited Israel and the West Bank on a congressional delegation organized by left-leaning, pro-Israel lobby J Street.”

Top News and Analysis

What’s Next for Israel’s Judicial Overhaul?, The New York Times
Israeli lawmakers are this week advancing parts of a contentious plan by the right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to overhaul the country’s judiciary. The bill moved forward last week after a three-month hiatus during which the government and the opposition sought but failed to reach a compromise on the broader proposed overhaul. The government move set off massive protests in Israel, and another major demonstration is planned for Tuesday.

Activists to Protest at Train Stations as Coalition Fast Tracks ‘Reasonableness’ Bill, The Times of Israel
As the government seeks to fast track passage of the first element of its judicial overhaul, protesters are planning another “day of resistance” for this week. Opponents of the judicial overhaul said they will rally at train station platforms across the country on Tuesday afternoon as part of their day of protests, aiming to disrupt the one transportation method that has been generally undisturbed by their movement.


Netanyahu Leaves Hospital After Suffering Dehydration During Israel Heat Wave, CNN
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was admitted to hospital suffering from suspected dehydration Saturday, his office said, as fierce heat grips the country. Netanyahu’s initial tests “came out normal” and he appears to be in “good condition,” his office said in a statement. The statement, provided to CNN, said Netanyahu complained of “mild dizziness” before his admission.

‘Israel Does Not Currently Meet’ Visa Waiver Program Requirements, DHS Tells Lawmakers, Jewish Insider
The Department of Homeland Security told lawmakers that Israel still does not meet requirements for entry into the Visa Waiver Program, highlighting concerns about reciprocal treatment of American travelers. “Israel does not currently meet all of the statutory and policy requirements for designation as a VWP country,” Zephranie Buetow, DHS’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs said. “The Administration strongly supports Israel’s candidacy in the VWP once it meets all requirements, including extending reciprocal privileges to all US citizens and nationals—including Palestinian Americans and Americans on the Palestinian Authority population registry traveling to or through Israel.”

Palestinian Gunman Opens Fire on a Car in the Occupied West Bank, Wounding 3, Including 2 Girls, AP
A Palestinian gunman opened fire on a car in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, wounding three Israelis, including two girls, Israeli authorities said. The suspect fled the scene of the shooting, but he was later captured. The bloodshed was the latest in a relentless cycle of violence that has gripped the region, driving up the death toll and sparking the worst fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank in nearly two decades.

Netanyahu Rails at Anti-overhaul Reservists in First Appearance Since Hospital Stay, The Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday made his first public appearance since being hospitalized over the weekend, lobbing fresh broadsides against military reservists as they ramp up opposition to the judicial overhaul. His hospitalization, which has been attributed to dehydration, came as increasing numbers of reservists warn they’ll stop showing up for volunteer duty to protest the government’s plans to change the judiciary.

Israeli Mounted Police Officer Investigated for Trampling Protester, Haaretz
An Israeli police officer is being investigated for attacking a protester last week in Tel Aviv during nationwide demonstrations against Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul. On Sunday, the mounted police officer was questioned by the Justice Ministry department that investigates police misconduct. During the incident in question, the mounted police officer trampled a protester with his horse. The protester was taken to a local hospital in moderate condition.

Opinion and Analysis

Will Biden Finally Invite Netanyahu to the White House?, Foreign Policy
Aaron David Miller writes, “But you can’t choose your parents or your prime ministers. And Biden is waking up to the inconvenient fact that whatever he thought he knew about his good friend Netanyahu (“Bibi, I don’t agree with a damn thing you say, but I love you,” the president once famously said), the Israeli leader has undergone a change from a difficult partner—cautious and risk-averse—to a desperate, risk-ready politician who seems to stumble from one disaster to the next.”

My Brave, Brilliant Friend Was Kidnapped in Iraq. Will the World Stand Up for Her?, The New York Times
Rachel Sharansky Danziger notes, “Liza is not the same kind of freedom fighter as our parents were, but she has made a similar gamble. With her university’s support and that of several human rights groups, she took risks in pursuit of knowledge and information, trying to do what she felt was right. Will the liberal world stand up for her, as it did for her parents, and fight for her release? As I look at Liza’s face in the newsreels today — and in our childhood photos — I hope that the answer is yes.”