News Roundup for May 24, 2023

May 24, 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

Israeli Parliament Set to Approve 2023-24 Budget Amid Protests, Reuters
Israel’s parliament began a final vote on the state budget late on Tuesday, granting some political reprieve to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose hard-right coalition government has been strained by months of protests. Facing last minute funding demands by some of his religious and far-right allies as his government approached a May 29 deadline, Netanyahu expressed confidence that the budget would pass in remarks he delivered shortly before the vote began.

Scoop: Israel Tells U.S. It Won’t Turn Homesh Outpost into New Settlement, Axios
The Israeli government told the Biden administration it would not turn the Homesh outpost deep inside the occupied West Bank into a new settlement, despite a recently-signed decree that allows Israelis to enter the area, three U.S. and Israeli officials told me. The Biden administration is concerned that if Homesh is rebuilt as a formal settlement, it will make it even harder to form an eventual contiguous Palestinian state. Homesh is located in an area between the northern Palestinian cities of Nablus and Jenin where there are no Israeli settlements.

Three Israelis Arrested for Suspected Attack on Arab Minors, Haaretz
Three Israelis, including a soldier, were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attacking two Arab minors in an ethnically motivated assault last month. The Israeli army said that the soldier’s actions were not committed while on duty, and the Shin Bet security service is involved in the investigation. All three are residents of the central city of Hadera.


60% of Americans Back Reevaluating Ties with Israel If Judicial Reform Passes, The Times of Israel
Most Americans think that Washington should reassess its ties with Israel if Jerusalem passes a controversial, drastic overhaul of the judiciary, according to a survey that examined opinions in both counties on the ties between them. According to the poll, presented at the Herzliya conference by Amnon Cavari of The Institute for Liberty and Responsibility at Reichman University on Monday, 60 percent of Americans back a reevaluation of the bilateral relationship if the overhaul is legislated.

Israel Demolishes Home of Palestinian Behind Tel Aviv Attack That Killed 1, ABC News
The Israeli army said on Tuesday it demolished the home of a Palestinian involved in an attack in Tel Aviv that killed one and wounded two others in March. Video footage of the attack shows a man the army says was Moataz Khawaja, 23, shooting three men from behind, including one in the head – in one of Tel Aviv’s busiest streets – before being shot and killed by Israeli police. Hamas claimed him as a member of its armed wing.

US Wants Israel to Shelve Judicial Overhaul in Return for Saudi Normalization, The Times of Israel
The White House reportedly wants Israel to halt its judicial overhaul and restart peace talks with the Palestinian Authority in order for the US to move forward with brokering normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Reports have swirled in recent days that Jerusalem and Riyadh are in the midst of negotiations over direct flights between the nations that have the potential to lead to a wider normalization deal – which has long been sought by Israel but largely rejected by the Saudis.

Top Israeli General Says ‘Action’ Is on Horizon over Iran Nuclear Work, Reuters
The top Israeli general raised the prospect of “action” against Iran on Tuesday even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser played down any immediate threat posed by a new underground nuclear facility being dug by Tehran.

Opinion and Analysis

A Manufactured ‘Mainstream’ Wants the White House to Define Antisemitism on Its own Flawed Terms, JTA
Lila Corwin Berman, professor at Temple University, writes, “In the power plays to claim the Jewish ‘mainstream,’ institutions and their leaders are trying to silence those who disagree with their policies and politics. The term ‘mainstream’ acts as a cudgel against efforts to build solidarity between Palestinians and Israelis who oppose the actions of the Israeli government. Its purveyors vocally and consistently defend harsh anti-boycott laws, on the books in several American states, that penalize institutions or individuals for engaging in or promoting boycotts against Israel. Or they helicopter onto American college campuses to pressure university administrators to subscribe to the IHRA definition of antisemitism.”

Israel Has No Money for East Jerusalem, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board argues, “From one cabinet meeting to the next, from one decision to the next, the evidence keeps mounting that this government is dead-set on destroying things with maximum speed and efficiency. Whichever professional bureaucrats still remain in the government ministries must warn against the severe implications of these decisions, and make it clear that a five-year plan for East Jerusalem is not just in the interest of East Jerusalem residents, but in the interest of all Israelis.”