News Roundup for March 15, 2023

March 15, 2023

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J Street News Roundup

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

Bank of Israel Chief Comes Out Against ‘Hasty’ Overhaul That Could Harm Judiciary, The Times of Israel
Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron warned that the government’s sweeping judicial overhaul was “hasty” and could harm the justice system’s independence, criticizing the expedited and unilateral fashion in which the bills have been blitzed through the Knesset’s committees and plenum in recent months. “Right now, the changes [introduced] in the judicial reform could weaken some of this independence. Moreover, the process itself is hasty and does not have a wide agreement in the public,” Yaron told CNN in an interview aired early Wednesday.

Netanyahu Critics Urge Germany, Britain To Cancel His Visit, The Washington Post
Hundreds of Israeli writers, artists and intellectuals on Tuesday called on Germany and Britain to cancel upcoming visits by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying his plan to overhaul Israel’s judicial system has put the country on a destructive course. Netanyahu’s coalition, a collection of ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties, has barreled ahead with legislation that aims to weaken Israel’s Supreme Court and give them control over the appointment of the nation’s judges. In a letter addressed to the German and British ambassadors in Israel, some 1,000 Israeli figures said Tuesday that Israel is in the midst of the most extreme crisis in its history and that Netanyahu is trying to turn the country into a “theocratic dictatorship.”


U.K., France and Dozen Other EU Members Call on Israel to Halt East Jerusalem Dispossession, Haaretz
France and over a dozen other European Union member states, as well as the United Kingdom, demanded on Tuesday that Israel halt the looming dispossession of several Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem.

Disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Announces New Pro-Israel Group, JTA
Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a new project, a year and a half after resigning amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations: a pro-Israel organization targeting Democrats. Cuomo delivered the message via video on Monday evening at an event at Carnegie Hall hosted by the World Values Network, the organization led by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach — an author, television personality and onetime Republican congressional candidate.

Kohelet, Right-Wing Think Tank That Inspired Overhaul, Calls for Partial Compromise, The Times of Israel
The Kohelet Policy Forum, the institution that formulated the ideological foundations for the government’s radical judicial overhaul program, called for compromise Tuesday over the far-reaching proposals, as the government continued its legislative drive despite trenchant and widespread public opposition.

Israeli Police to Question Far-right MK After He Said He Wants Hawara ‘Burned Down’, Haaretz
A lawmaker from the Israel’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party was summoned for questioning by police on suspicion of inciting to terror on Tuesday after he said he wanted Hawara “shuttered and burned down,” following the settler rampage in the Palestinian town.

Opinion and Analysis

How Israel’s Far Right Is Prompting Outrage from the Jewish Diaspora, Time
Yasmeen Serhan reports, “For many supporters of Israel, this is a watershed moment for Israeli democracy—one that liberal Israelis and its allies in the Jewish diaspora will not be able to ignore. “In showing its contempt for anything liberal, [the Israeli government] has actually managed to awaken the bear of the Israeli liberals,” says Nufar Galin, an Israeli expat living in London, and another one of the demonstrators. “It’s a huge risk, but also a huge boon in the sense that maybe they’re going a step far enough to be held accountable … for Israel to be saved from itself.””

Israelis Are Now Openly Talking About the ‘Total Destruction’ of the Jewish State, Rolling Stone
Noga Tarnopolsky writes, “Israel as we know it may not make it that far. Netanyahu’s government has committed to passing several of its most ambitious bills, including a Supreme Court Override Law, which would relegate Israel’s high court rulings to social commentary, and a law to stuff the Judicial Appointments Committee with politicians, by Passover, which begins on April 5. That’s triggered a tangible sense of doom and outrage. The February 2023, Israeli Voice Index, a nonpartisan survey, shows that half of Israelis believe the country’s general situation has worsened under the new government, and 72 percent think that tensions between various sectors of society have heightened during the same time.”