News Roundup for July 24, 2023

July 24, 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

With Israel, It’s Time to Start Discussing the Unmentionable, The New York Times
“Israel is in the headlines, evoking tumultuous debate. Yet one topic remains largely unmentionable, so let me gingerly raise it: Is it time to think about phasing out American aid for Israel down the road? […] “There’s a serious conversation that should be had ahead of this next memorandum of understanding about how best to use $40 billion in US tax dollars,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, an advocacy group. “Yet instead of a serious national security discussion, you’re likely to get a toxic mix of partisan brawling and political pandering.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Coalition Passes Key Judicial Coup Law Amid National Conflict, Haaretz
Israel’s lawmakers are holding the final vote on the reasonableness bill that is pivotal to the Netanyahu government’s efforts to dramatically weaken the judiciary. While police are clashing with pro-democracy protesters who are rallying outside the parliament building, the architects of the judicial coup are threatening to topple the coalition if the bill is amended at the very last minute.


Biden Says Bibi Shouldn’t Rush “Divisive” Judicial Overhaul Bill Amid Threats, Axios
President Biden in a statement to Axios called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to move forward with the planned Israeli Knesset vote on a bill that is part of the government’s judicial overhaul, saying he is highly concerned about the legislation and its potential implications. From the perspective of Israel’s friends in the United States, “it looks like the current judicial reform proposal is becoming more divisive, not less,” Biden said in the statement.

Israel’s Netanyahu Taken to Hospital for Heart Procedure, Placed Under Sedation, AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said early Sunday he was going to the hospital for an emergency procedure to receive a pacemaker, but vowed to press ahead with his controversial judicial overhaul plan. In a brief videotaped statement released at 2 am, Netanyahu said he had been fitted with a monitoring device after being briefly hospitalized last week for what his office had said was dehydration.

In Judicial Overhaul Protests, Israel’s Soldiers Face Off Against Netanyahu, The Washington Post
Protest organizers pledged to bring the country to a standstill if the proposed bill to limit judicial review is not paused or rewritten. Israel’s main labor federation has threatened a general strike. But it is the standoff with reserve military officers, senior security officials and the army’s rank-and-file that poses perhaps the most serious threat to the legislation — with some warning that the divisions could weaken Israel’s preparedness in a region beset by conflict. More than 10,000 reservists from dozens of military units said Saturday that they would not report for duty if the legislation passes.

Israel Forces Shoot Dead Palestinian Teen After Alleged Car-ramming Attempt, The Guardian
Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said, in what the army described as a “car ramming attempt” near Nablus. Fawzi Mukhalifa, 18, “was killed by the occupation [Israeli] bullets in the town of Sebastia” late on Friday, the Palestinian health ministry said. He was the second Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank within hours.

Israeli Startups Act to Relocate Over Judicial Shakeup, Survey Finds, Reuters
Nearly 70% of Israeli startups have taken action to relocate parts of their business outside Israel, a survey released on Sunday by an Israeli non-profit organization on the government’s planned judicial overhaul found. The survey by Start-Up Nation Central sought to measure the economic impact plans by the hard-right coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that would restrict the Supreme Court’s powers to strike down legislation.

Opinion and Analysis

Only Biden Can Save Israel Now, The New York Times
Thomas Friedman argues, “Mr. President, when we met last Tuesday and you gave me your very measured statement urging Netanyahu not to “rush” this legislation through without “the broadest possible consensus” — which he so clearly does not have — it came as an electric shock to the Israeli political system, dominating the news for several days. It was such a shock because a vast majority of Israelis believe — rightly — that you are a true friend and that your advice came from the heart. But I’m afraid this Israeli government needs another dose of your tough love — not just from your heart but from the heart of US strategic interests as well.”

Generals, Peaceniks, and Palestinian Fighters Agree: Bibi Must Be Stopped, Rolling Stone
Jesse Rosenfeld writes, “When Netanyahu stoked a five-day conflict with Palestinian fighters in Gaza on May 9, the reservists showed up for duty, the weekly protests were canceled, and after months in decline, he rose in the polls. A week later, however, throngs of Israelis were back on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street. The generation of Palestinians and Israelis who grew up under Netanyahu are coming of age amid rebellion in the occupied territories and mass protests dividing Israel. Widespread discontent at the reality forged by a leader who shaped their entire lives is spilling out into the streets, while the gulf between Palestinians and Israelis has never been wider.”