News Roundup for June 5, 2023

June 5, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Israel’s Diaspora Minister Makes Obscene Gesture Toward Protesters at NYC Israel Parade, Haaretz
Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli made an obscene gesture toward pro-democracy protesters while attending the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York on Sunday. His gesture was widely rebuked on social media. In a Twitter response to the photo – in which Chikli has now claimed he was telling protesters to smile – Opposition leader Yair Lapid pointed out that between the incident between far-right lawmaker Simcha Rothman and Chikli, the current government never ceases to embarrass Israel on the world stage.

3 Israeli Soldiers Were Killed Along the Egyptian Border, Military Says, NPR
A gunbattle along Israel’s southern border with Egypt left three Israeli soldiers and an Egyptian officer dead Saturday, officials said. It was a rare instance of deadly violence along the frontier. Israel said the Egyptian border guard crossed into Israel and killed the three soldiers before he was fatally shot by troops. Egypt said he had been chasing drug smugglers when he entered Israel.

Casting Wary Eye on IAEA, Israel Fears US Laying Groundwork for New Iran Deal, The Times of Israel
A smattering of reports, meetings and announcement appear to indicate that the US is moving toward a new deal with Iran over its nuclear program, and Israeli officials have broadcast fears that Washington is bowing to key demands from Tehran to finalize the pact. The question for Israeli policymakers is how far along that path the sides have traveled.

Israeli Bill Seeks to Prevent Arab Citizens from Living in Jewish Areas – NGOs, The Jerusalem Post
Human rights organizations raised alarm yesterday over a private bill approved by the Ministerial Legislative Committee to expand town acceptance committees on the West Bank and larger communities, charging that the proposal is racist and undemocratic. A private bill approved by the Ministerial Legislative Committee to expand acceptance committees in West Bank towns and larger communities is racist and undemocratic, human-rights organizations said Sunday.


Israeli Lawmaker Grabs Megaphone from NYC Protester, Who Files a Police Report, JTA
A far-right Israeli lawmaker grabbed a megaphone from a protester on a New York City street and rushed away, leading the protester to file a police report against him. The altercation on Friday came ahead of this year’s Celebrate Israel Parade, which is expected to attract a large turnout of Jewish and expatriate Israeli anti-government protesters. Israeli right-wing lawmakers in town for the parade have been dogged by protesters who oppose the Israeli government’s efforts to weaken the judiciary.

U.S. Officials Meet With Israeli Counterparts Over West Bank Powder Keg, Haaretz
The head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service Ronen Bar met with senior Biden administration officials on Thursday during his visit to Washington, as White House officials express growing concern over developments in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israel Normalization on Agenda as Blinken Heads to Saudi Arabia Next Week, The Times of Israel
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Riyadh next week, with warming ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia on the agenda for talks with senior Gulf officials. During the June 6-8 trip, Blinken will “discuss US-Saudi strategic cooperation on regional and global issues and a range of bilateral issues including economic and security cooperation,” the State Department said.

Arab Israeli Man Shot and Killed, 16-year-old Wounded, Haaretz
A 47-year-old Arab Israel, later identified as Ismail Al-Shamali, was killed in a shooting in Ramle, a city in central Israel, on Saturday night. The incident is believed to be connected to a family-related conflict. Additionally, a 16-year-old boy from the same area sustained injuries during the incident.

Opinion and Analysis

Homesh: Cornerstone of an Ever-Conflicted One State, The Times of Israel
Arie Pellman, former Deputy Director of the Shin Bet and a member of Commanders for Israel’s Security, argues, “Wildcat settlements on the West Bank are the appalling result of ‘government-sanctioned anarchy.’ Settlement in heavily populated Palestinian areas contradicts Zionist values and undermines the key achievement of well over 100 years of Zionist settlement writ large – the establishment of a solid Jewish majority in the State of Israel. Although these settlements constitute a tiny minority in the midst of an overwhelming Palestinian majority, this trend, if not reversed, threatens to achieve its strategic objective of preventing separating the two peoples. In doing so, it will inflict a critical blow to our Jewish majority.”

A Moment of Disillusionment’: American Jews Torn as Israel Turns 75, 972
Emily Tamkin highlights the ambivalence of American Jews and their celebration of Israel’s 75th anniversary at a time of turmoil set off by the election of Netanyahu’s far-right government and the widescale protests caused by the proposed judicial overhaul.

How Much Longer Can the Judicial Overhaul Protests Ignore Israeli Occupation?, Haaretz
MK Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Hadash-Ta’al party, writes, “I hope from the bottom of my heart that many will see fit to join this cause: Jews and Arabs, anyone who still harbors hope, but also people who feel a deep despair, who will perhaps see that in marching with us, they are not alone. Maybe they’ll gain some hope in this dark period. We have a duty to jointly raise the banner of peace, otherwise the black banner of the occupation will continue to fly.”