News Roundup for September 26, 2023

September 26, 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.

J Street In the News

A Saudi-Israel ‘Historic Peace’ Will be Hard to Pull Off, Despite What Netanyahu and MBS Are Saying, The Messenger
Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal Mideast peace lobbying group, J Street, told The Messenger that when it comes to pressuring Israel to reengage with the Palestinians, “the United States has very few carrots left in the bag to offer Israel.” Normalization with Saudi Arabia would be a significant carrot. […] Ben-Ami suggested that the Saudi deal had the potential to be an “incentive for a reshaping of the [Israeli] government.”

New York Trip Gave Netanyahu No Escape from Israel’s Reality, Al-Monitor
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir said Netanyahu will now have to choose between normalization with Saudi Arabia — which would probably require him to alter his coalition — or letting the hard-liners in his government have the upper hand. “You need a coalition that will allow reaching an agreement on constitutional issues and one that will agree on steps vis-a-vis the Palestinians,” Tamir said.

Jeremy Ben-Ami’s Powerful Speech at the Pro-democracy Protests in NYC [Video], J Street
Watch J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami speak at a pro-democracy rally in New York last week. Jeremy and other Jewish American leaders joined in protest against Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul as the Prime Minister arrived in the United States for the UN General Assembly.

Top News and Analysis

The Six Biggest Lies Netanyahu Told America, and the World, Haaretz
“Nearly lost in the din is the fact that Netanyahu used his trip to traffic in falsehoods, misinformation and disinformation regarding his far-right coalition’s planned judicial overhaul, the conflict with the Palestinians and the imminence of a deal with Saudi Arabia. The following six points are but a sample of Netanyahu’s most egregious manipulation of facts.”

Meeting Between Jewish Leaders and Benjamin Netanyahu Broaches Judicial Overhaul — and Gets Personal, JTA
At the meeting, attendees said Netanyahu raised the topics he preferred to discuss, such as the threat from Iran and prospects for a treaty with Saudi Arabia. And the American Jewish leaders brought up topics on their mind as well — among them the judicial overhaul; relations with the Palestinian Authority; Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners; and women’s rights in Israel.


Israeli Airstrikes Hit Gaza for Third Day in a Row as West Bank Violence Intensifies, AP
Israeli airstrikes struck militant sites in Gaza on Sunday for the third straight day, the Israeli military said, after Palestinian militants near the border fence launched incendiary balloons into Israel and threw an explosive at soldiers.

Activists Block Public Tel Aviv Yom Kippur Prayers as Orthodox Group Sets Gender Divider, The Times of Israel
An Orthodox religious group defied the Tel Aviv municipality and an order from the Supreme Court and set up an improvised gender divider at a mass prayer event in central Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Square at the start of Yom Kippur on Sunday evening.

Saudi Delegation Expected to Visit West Bank, Haaretz
A Saudi delegation is due to visit Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah this week, a Palestinian official said, amid diplomatic efforts to secure an accord between Israel and Saudi Arabia that could involve concessions for the Palestinians.

Netanyahu Under Fire for Using Greater Land of Israel Map at UN, The Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Netanyahu is under fire on social media for holding up a map at the United Nations General Assembly plenum on Friday that placed the West Bank and Gaza within the boundaries of sovereign Israel.

Saudi Arabia, Jordan Condemn Israeli Settler Provocations at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Monitor
Saudi Arabia’s new ambassador to the West Bank has spoken out over clashes that broke out over the weekend as hundreds of Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Opinion and Analysis

Standing Up for Israel’s Democracy Means Standing up for Palestinians, The Forward
Michael Bien argues, “I am thrilled to see the strength of the protests for Israeli democracy. But I believe that Jewish people everywhere must stand with Palestinians fighting for their rights every bit as much as they stand with those chanting “Demokratia!” (“Democracy!”) on Kaplan Street.”

Israel’s Secular Revolt Against Jewish and Male Supremacy, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “This is a battle over the character of Israel, and the only way to win it is to fight it on the ground, as those demonstrators did, preventing gender-segregated prayers in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Zichron Yaakov and other cities. There is no room for tolerance in face of forces trying to promote Jewish and male supremacy. They can’t be allowed to pass.”

Bibi’s Dead-End Road to Riyadh, Foreign Policy
Shalom Lipner notes, “The problem — with which Riyadh has just come to terms evidently — is that Netanyahu has no latitude to satisfy the minimum requirements for discernible movement vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Notwithstanding his insistence that “the mainstream policies [of the government] are decided by me,” the facts suggest otherwise.”