News Roundup for May 23, 2023

May 23, 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

Netanyahu, Ben Gvir Reach Spending Deal, Removing Last Hurdle to Passing Budget, The Times of Israel
After a three-hour meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening resolved with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to increase funding for a ministry held by the latter’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party, clearing the last key hurdle to passing the 2023-2024 state budget.

Palestinian Gunmen Among Three Killed in Israeli Nablus Raid, BBC News
Three Palestinians have been shot dead and several wounded by Israeli forces in Nablus, in the occupied West Bank. Witnesses described hearing gunfire and explosions as Israeli troops raided several houses in the crowded Balata refugee camp, in what they said was the biggest operation there in years. The Israeli military says gunmen shot at its soldiers, who returned fire.

No More Arab States Will Normalize Ties With Israel, Netanyahu Gov’t ‘Embarrassed’ UAE, Emirati Analyst Warns, Haaretz
A senior Emirati policy analyst said Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has “embarrassed” Arab leaders and that no additional states are likely to sign normalization agreements with Israel in the near term.


Ex-Mossad Head: Smotrich Turning Israel Into ‘State of All Its Citizens’, Haaretz
The former head of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, warned on Tuesday that the policies coming from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government are rendering a potential separation from Palestinians impossible, and turning Israel into a “state of all its citizens.”

Israeli Car Struck by Gunfire in Northern West Bank, The Times of Israel
Shots were fired Monday night at an Israeli vehicle in the northern West Bank, the military said. The car was struck by bullets, but no one was hurt in the shooting between the Tapuah Junction and Migdalim settlement, which the Israel Defense Forces described as a deliberate attack. The IDF said that soldiers were searching the area for suspects.

Israeli Defense Chief Says Military Has More Than Doubled Strikes on Iranian Targets in Syria, ABC News
Israel’s defense minister Monday said that Israel’s new government has greatly increased the number of strikes on Iranian targets since taking office late last year. Yoav Gallant did not provide an exact number of airstrikes. But the address, delivered at a security conference, marked rare public comments on Israeli military activity in Syria. “Since I took office, the number of Israeli strikes against the Iranians in Syria have doubled,” Gallant said.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel at 75, Project Syndicate
Richard Haas, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes, “Israel, nearly strangled at birth in May 1948, is approaching fundamental choices about its identity. If it wants to remain a democratic state, it cannot forever rule over five million Palestinians and deny them citizenship and the rights that go with it.”

Does Israel’s Anti-government Protest Movement Have a Future?, Haaretz
Odeh Bisharat writes, “Someone will say that the protest movement cannot deal with all the ills of society. Interesting — but over the local property tax law an enormous cry rang out…So, here too the protest movement — which represents the powerful forces in society — is put to the test. And the test is its attitude to the Palestinians, those over the Green Line and those who are citizens of Israel. This attitude is what will determine the protest movement’s future.”