News Roundup for May 17, 2023

May 17, 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

Police Brace for All Possibilities at Jerusalem Flag March as Hamas Issues Threats, The Times of Israel
Jerusalem Police were in the throes of intensive preparations Tuesday for securing the Jerusalem Day Flag March in two days’ time, including drills for potential rocket fire from the Gaza Strip — although such an attack is not thought to be likely. More than 2,000 police officers will secure the controversial march, along with more than 1,000 other security personnel who will ensure that other events in the capital throughout the day are adequately protected, the force announced Tuesday afternoon.

Ayman Odeh, Leader of Arab Jewish Party Hadash, Says He Won’t Run for Next Knesset Term, Haaretz
Lawmaker Ayman Odeh, chairman of the left-wing Arab party Hadash, has announced on Tuesday that he won’t run in the next Knesset elections. Odeh will remain MK until the end of this term. Hadash expressed outrage at the surprise announcement, but according to party sources, Odeh made the decision due to party rules that would limit him moving forward.

Israel to Invest NIS 60 Million to Combat BDS and Aid Ukrainian Jews, The Jerusalem Post
Israel will invest NIS 50 million in combating Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) attempted to delegitimize Israel and more than NIS 10 million in support for Ukrainian Jewish communities, Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Minister Amichai Chikli revealed during a meeting at Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Monday.


After US Request, Jerusalem May Change Name of Negev Forum to Make It Less Israeli, The Times of Israel
Israel is inclined to go along with a recent US request to change the name of the Negev Forum for regional cooperation to a title that is less specifically identified with the Jewish state, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. A diplomat from an Arab country confirmed that the request was made, calling it a positive development that could open the way for more countries to join.

Jewish Groups Slam Rep. Gosar After Staffers Revealed as Followers of White Supremacist Fuentes, Haaretz
Local and national Jewish organizations sharply condemned Rep. Paul Gosar on Tuesday, after it emerged that two of the controversial Republican lawmaker’s staffers are reportedly followers of white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

Israel’s Netanyahu Faces Budget Test Amid Economic, Political Woes, Reuters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a test this month when his coalition of nationalist and religious parties seeks approval for a spending package which the government’s own budget unit says will stifle growth. Lawmakers must approve the bi-annual 2023-24 budget package by the end of May to avoid triggering an election. With 64 of parliament’s 120 seats, Netanyahu’s coalition appears on course to vote it through.

Opinion and Analysis

As Israel’s Leadership Becomes More Extreme, Jerusalem’s Notorious Flag Day Looms as Even Bigger Threat, Haaretz
Anton Goodman of Rabbis for Human Rights says, “I fear most Israelis do not realize the impending threat, and are not prepared for the potential consequences of the parade. But with the sudden rise of the extreme right at the highest levels of Israel’s government, those of us in Israeli society who find this abhorrent need to urgently work towards de-radicalizing Jewish extremist discourse here.”

The Arnona Fund: A Calculated Assault on Israeli Democracy, The Times of Israel
Raoul Wootliff writes, “Preserving our democracy necessitates a collective commitment to upholding the values and institutions that have guided us thus far. We must learn from history and vehemently reject the tactics that have eroded democracy elsewhere. The battle for local autonomy is nothing less than a battle for the soul of our nation, and we must fight it with unwavering determination and resolve. By steadfastly defending the principles of democracy, we forge a path toward a brighter future—one where local empowerment, citizen representation, and the rule of law flourish.”