News Roundup for May 4, 2023

May 4, 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 airstrikes on Gaza kill Palestinian as violence ebbs, AP
Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed a 58-year-old man and wounded five others on Wednesday, Palestinian health officials said, even as the latest spasm of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in the enclave appeared to ebb. Israeli fighter jets struck targets in Gaza in response to salvos of rockets launched by Palestinian militants at Israeli territory on Tuesday. But after sunrise, the violence seemed to subside as both sides signaled they wanted to avoid a wider conflict. The exchange erupted when a prominent Palestinian detainee died in Israeli custody after an 87-day hunger strike. The death of Khader Adnan, 45, a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group credited with popularizing hunger strikes as an effective form of activism, reverberated across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, where he is revered as a national hero.

Likud: If Ben Gvir doesn’t like how Netanyahu runs government, he can leave, Times of Israel
The ruling Likud party on Wednesday slammed National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir for his far-right party’s decision to boycott Knesset votes, telling him if he did not like the way Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu runs the government he could leave. Firing back, Ben Gvir said Otzma Yehudit would continue to refrain from voting with the coalition until Netanyahu adopted more hardline policies, and fumed over his exclusion from security deliberations on Tuesday’s fighting between Israel and Gaza-based terror groups.


Dozens of Protests Expected Across Israel on Thursday Against Netanyahu’s Judicial Coup, Haaretz
“Protest leaders have called Thursday “National Equality Day,” setting to draw attention to demands for parity in the distribution of burdens in Israeli society, mainly over military service. There are expected to be two waves of intense disruptions across the country on Thursday morning and afternoon, featuring demonstrations, marches, convoys, road blockades and rallies outside of coalition lawmakers’ homes calling for equality for women, Arabs, Druze and members of the LGBTQ community.”

Government will ‘fall apart’ without law on Haredi military exemption, warns minister, Times of Israel
Housing and Construction Minister Yitzhak Golknopf, head of the United Torah Judaism party, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition could collapse if a law that exempts members of the ultra-Orthodox community from military service does not pass, in remarks set to be published in Haredi media Thursday.

Israel razes homes of alleged Palestinian attackers, Al-Monitor
Israeli troops carried out demolitions Wednesday of the homes of two Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly attacks on Israelis in the occupied West Bank last year. The army said the demolitions targeted the homes of Mohammed Souf, 18, accused of a “car-ramming and stabbing attack” which killed three Israelis last November, and Younis Hilan, accused of fatally stabbing an Israeli the previous month.

Netanyahu said blocking Gallant from visiting US until he gets an invite, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has twice blocked Defense Minister Yoav Gallant from traveling to the US in recent weeks, apparently because the premier has not yet received an invitation to the White House himself, Israeli television reported Wednesday.

Opinion and Analysis

A Year On, Shireen Abu Akleh’s Killing Raises New Tensions in Washington, Haaretz
“Sen. Chris Van Hollen has been perhaps the leading advocate in Congress on Abu Akleh’s behalf over the past 12 months. On Monday, he urged U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken not to edit a new report on Abu Akleh’s death before sharing it with U.S. lawmakers…The U.S. administration’s alleged lack of transparency regarding the circumstances surrounding Abu Akleh’s death has been a particularly sore point for senior Democrats – many of whom identify as staunch supporters of Israel – due to matters that go beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These include press freedom, U.S. foreign military aid and the balance of power within the U.S. government.”

Revealed: The IDF unit turning ‘hilltop youth’ settlers into soldiers, 972 Magazine
An investigation by +972 and Local Call uncovers how Israeli settlers from violent outposts are being inducted into ‘Desert Frontier’ — a new military unit responsible for severe abuses of Palestinians across the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s Fanatical Justice Minister Loved by Party Hacks, but Alienates Likud Voters, Haaretz
Ravit Hecht reports, “In Likud circles, a fascinating phenomenon is now taking place: Among the party’s members – in a group that numbers a bit more than 100,000 people – Levin’s strength is growing. However, Likud voters are abandoning the party, which is increasingly identified with the “legal reforms,” as opinion polls show. The bottom line: While Likud Party members are a commando unit for Levin, Likud voters wandering around among us in the free air don’t understand what they want from them – and why they are being asked to commit suicide for fantasies of the destruction of the legal system.”