News Roundup for July 27, 2023

July 27, 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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Top News and Analysis

What Israel’s Judicial Overhaul Means for Palestinians, Vox
Palestinians could stand to suffer the most from this legislation. Palestinians living in the occupied territories lack other forms of representation or legal recourse — they are not citizens of Israel, don’t have the right to vote, or have the same political or civil rights as even Israelis living in nearby settlements in the West Bank. So removing the reasonability clause may have a huge impact on Palestinians, according to Michael Sfard, a prominent Israeli human rights lawyer. “For Palestinians, the situation is completely different. The only thing that guards them and their rights from arbitrary use of power against them is judicial review,” he told Vox.

‘Murder in Their Eyes’: Israelis Decry Excessive Police Violence at Demos Following Knesset Vote, Haaretz
Israeli police used great force and violence while clearing the Ayalon Highway of protesters on Monday – as shown by testimony and photographs obtained by Haaretz. In one incident, a mounted policeman was documented kicking a protester in the stomach and whipping him on the head. The protester was lightly wounded and evacuated to nearby Ichilov Hospital, where he received stitches to his head. In addition, at least 17 other protesters injured by police violence arrived in the hospital.


Army Fire Kills 14-year-old, Palestinians Say, As Israeli Minister Visits Flashpoint Holy Site, AP
Israeli military fire killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials said Thursday, as an ultranationalist Israeli Cabinet minister visited a sensitive Jerusalem holy site that has been a frequent flashpoint for violence between Israel and the Palestinians. Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the disputed hilltop compound comes as Israel and the Palestinians are locked in a year-and-a-half long bout of fighting and could enflame already surging tensions.

Judicial Overhaul Sparks Military Crisis as Number of Refusing Reservists Grows, CNN
As Israel plunges deeper into crisis after the country’s parliament passed the first bill of a controversial judicial overhaul, thousands of Israeli army reservists – the backbone of the Israeli military – are threatening not to show up for work. And Israel’s leaders are sounding alarms about the country’s readiness for war. The threat is unprecedented in its scope, experts say, and the military has pleaded with reservists to remain in their posts.

Bill to Split AG Role Not Backed by Coalition Heads, Says Likud, The Jerusalem Post
A bill to transfer the Attorney General’s investigative and prosecutorial powers against government officials to the State Attorney is not backed by the coalition heads and will not be advanced, the Likud party said on Wednesday night. “The bill was not coordinated with the heads of the coalition and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu was not involved in it,” said the Likud.

Israel’s Supreme Court to Hear Appeal in Judicial Crisis, Reuters
Israel’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday it would hear an appeal against a new law that curbs some of its own powers, pitting it against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government that is seeking an overhaul of the judicial system. A bench decision posted on the court’s website said a hearing will be set for the appeal in September. The court did not issue an injunction against the new law, which came into effect on Wednesday.

Israel Allows More Towns to Reject ‘Unsuitable’ Residents Under Guise of ‘Social Cohesion’, Haaretz
The Knesset approved an expansion of the so-called Admissions Committees Law that would allow more communities to screen applicants and reject those they deem unsuitable. The original law, which was enacted in 2010 to circumvent a Supreme Court ruling that banned communities from selling land to Jews only, applied only to communities of up to 400 families, and only in the Negev and Galilee. The new law makes three significant changes.

Opinion and Analysis

In Israel, the Worst May Be Yet to Come, The New York Times
Adam Shinar argues, “In a country that devotes more and more resources to maintain the occupation and the settlements; in a country with no separation of religion and state, where marriages are subject to religious law and allowed only for heterosexual couples; and in a country that allocates tremendous resources to religious institutions, where the ultra-Orthodox do not serve in the military and their participation in the labor market is extremely low, insisting that the very textural fabric of Israeli society is both Jewish and democratic is becoming less and less convincing. The battle in the streets is not just about the constitutional overhaul. It is whether Israel can have a future as a liberal democracy.”

Jerusalem Will Not Fall Again!, J Street
Rabbi Barry H. Block writes, “The extremist Israeli government finds support from powerful quarters in the American Jewish organizational establishment. Many more are silent—that is, they fail to engage in tochechah, the loving critique that must be articulated if we are to partner with our family and friends in Israel to resist the destruction of Israeli democracy and the end of all hope of two states for two peoples living side-by-side in peace and security. Now is the time to raise our voices in tochechah, to rebuke not only the extremist government but its American Jewish collaborators and enablers.”