News Roundup for March 16, 2023

March 16, 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

Bibi Rejects Judicial Compromise Proposal As Herzog Warns Israel on Brink of Civil War, Axios
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday rejected Isaac Herzog’s proposal for compromise on constitutional and judicial reforms that the Israeli president had hoped would replace the government’s controversial judicial overhaul plan. The governing coalition plans to bring the first part of its judicial overhaul plan to a final vote in the Knesset next week, despite months of mass protests that have rocked the country, including the Israeli military, against the legislation.

Israel Says It Killed a Bomber Who Probably Entered From Lebanon, The New York Times
Israeli security forces said on Wednesday that they had shot dead a man they accused of planting a bomb in northern Israel after he had probably infiltrated the country from southern Lebanon, in one of the most unusual security incidents along the border in years. The military did not reveal details about the man killed but said that it was investigating whether he had been connected to Hezbollah, an Islamist militia and political movement that has long fought Israel and has a stronghold in southern Lebanon.


Israel Approves Export Licenses for Anti-Drone Systems for Ukraine, Axios
Israel recently approved the export licenses for the possible sale of anti-drone jamming systems that could help Ukraine counter Iranian drones used by Russia during the war, three Israeli and Ukrainian officials said. It’s the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine more than a year ago that Israel has approved defense export licenses for possible weapons sales to Ukraine.

Official: EU Foreign Policy Chief Unwelcome in Israel, The Washington Post
Israel has signaled to the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, that he is not welcome to visit following critical comments he made about Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank, Israeli officials said Wednesday. The incident marked the latest sign of deteriorating relations between Israel’ s new far-right government and some of its closest allies.

Ex-Mossad Head: Israeli Reservists Have Every Grounds for Refusal Over Netanyahu Judicial Overhaul, Haaretz
Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy on Wednesday said that Israeli military reservists are within their rights to refuse serving in protest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned judicial overhaul.

Protesters Block Roads in Day of ‘Escalating Resistance’ As PM Nixes Herzog Proposal, The Times of Israel
Protests began early Thursday, with hundreds of thousands of Israelis expected to take part in a day of “escalating resistance to dictatorship” as the coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged ahead with controversial legislation to radically overhaul the judiciary and restrict the powers of the High Court of Justice.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s International Status in Free Fall, The Times of Israel
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir writes, “If Israel tries to imitate regimes in authoritarian countries, we will end up in an outcast, under international punishment, together with Viktor Orbán who has succeeded during his time in office in destroying the Hungarian economy and bringing about a mass immigration of those who seek their future outside their homeland. This foreseeable blacklisting, and in the absence of American backing, has moral, political, economic and security implications that cannot be exaggerated. Those who undermine the international status of the State of Israel harm its security in every possible aspect. Right now, the Coalition of Extremists is surpassing the best efforts of our worst enemies.”

Putin and Netanyahu Show Why Bad Things Happen to Bad Leaders, The New York Times
Thomas Friedman reflects, “How could two leaders get so many things wrong, despite having been in power for so many years? The question answers itself: They’ve been in power for so many years. Each man has built up enemies and trails of alleged corruption that leave them feeling it’s rule or die.”