News Roundup for March 27, 2023

March 27, 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.

J Street In the News

Why American Jews Are Distancing Themselves From Netanyahu’s Government, CNN
“American Jews recognize that the current Israeli government represents “a deeper struggle” between competing visions of whether the country wants to be a liberal democracy that is willing to make peace with the Palestinians or an “authoritarian, illiberal and ultra-nationalist” nation, said Logan Bayroff, vice president of communications at J Street, a left-leaning pro-Israel lobby group. “That dynamic is something that American Jews are becoming increasingly familiar with from our own country,” he told CNN. “We’ve seen that play out in American politics as well, and more and more Jewish Americans have become politically engaged in pushing back against Trump.” “Netanyahu and his allies have mostly given up on the majority of America Jews,” said Bayroff. “They see that the majority of American Jews are liberal, they’re Democrats, they want a two-state solution.” The growing voices of American Jewish opposition to Israeli policies could help embolden policymakers to take a tougher stand on Israel, says Bayroff, particularly among those who refrained from rebuking Israel for fear of a backlash from their Jewish electorate.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel Boils as Netanyahu Ousts Minister Who Bucked Court Overhaul, The New York Times
Civil unrest broke out in parts of Israel Sunday night after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defense minister for criticizing the government’s divisive judicial overhaul, prompting protesters to surge into the streets, universities to shut their doors, and union leaders to hint of a looming general strike. Announced in a one-line statement by the prime minister’s office, the dismissal of Yoav Gallant intensified an already dramatic domestic crisis — one of the gravest in Israeli history — set off by the government’s attempt to give itself greater control over the selection of Supreme Court justices and to limit the court’s authority over Parliament.

As General Strike Shutters Israel, Netanyahu Set to Freeze Judicial Overhaul, Haaretz
Live updates from Haaretz as thousands protest outside the Knesset against judicial overhaul, Netanyahu is expected to freeze judicial overhaul legislation in public address after night of nationwide protests, and far-right minister Itamar Ben-Gvir says he will resign if the overhaul legislation stopped.


Israel: 2 Soldiers Wounded in West Bank Drive-By Shooting, AP
The Israeli military said two soldiers were wounded, one severely, Saturday evening in a drive-by shooting in the occupied West Bank, the latest in months-long violence between Israel and the Palestinians. The attack was the third to take place in the Palestinian town of Hawara in less than a month. One soldier was seriously wounded and the second was in moderate condition, the military said. A manhunt was launched as forces sealed roads leading to Hawara.

Israel’s Consul General in New York Resigns, Haaretz
Israel’s Consul General in New York Asaf Zamir resigned on Sunday, days after he was summoned by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem for warning U.S. Jewish donors against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s attempts to overhaul the judiciary. “The past 18 months as Israel’s Consul General in New York were fulfilling and rewarding, but following today’s developments, it is now time for me to join the fight for Israel’s future to ensure it remains a beacon of democracy and freedom in the world,” Zamir posted on Twitter hours after Netanyahu dismissed Defense Minister Yoav Galant over his similar criticisms.

Israel’s Leaders Must Find Compromise on Legislation That Is Tearing Country Apart, White House Says, Politico
The White House on Sunday urged “Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible,” as widespread unrest broke out in Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defense minister for objecting to judicial reforms that Netanyahu is seeking to enact. “We are deeply concerned by today’s developments out of Israel, which further underscore the urgent need for compromise,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement. “As the President recently discussed with Prime Minister Netanyahu, democratic values have always been, and must remain, a hallmark of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Number of Palestinians Under Detention Without Trial Has Doubled in Israeli Prisons, Haaretz
As of March 1st, Israeli prisons hold 971 administrative detainees, the highest number of prisoners without trial in 20 years, data from the Israel Prison Service provided to the Center for the Defense of the Individual (Hamoked). The figures show all but four of the detainees are West Bank Palestinians, East Jerusalem residents or Israeli Arabs. The other four are Israeli Jews.

Opinion and Analysis

There Is No ‘Compromise’ With Netanyahu’s Tyranny, Haaretz
Frances Raday argues, “Dealing with details of constitutional reform in these alternative proposals is like wading through lava and ignoring its source in an erupting volcano. The only choice democrats have in Israel today is to stand firm against this hostile takeover of their thriving liberal state.”