News Roundup for September 27, 2023

September 27, 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

How Benjamin Netanyahu Pushed Israel Into Chaos, The New York Times
“Netanyahu would like to be remembered as the leader who faced down the Iran menace, the savior of Israel in the face of forbidding odds for the Jewish people. But the country’s 75th year will be noted for something quite different. Its democracy is dimming; the public has never been more divided. Netanyahu has pushed Israel to the brink, gradually and then suddenly.”

In Major Win for Bibi, US will Allow Israel to Join Visa Waiver Program, Axios
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas has decided to allow Israel to join the US Visa Waiver Program, according to US officials who briefed reporters. It’s a major win for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a time when his far-right government is highly unpopular at home and facing criticism abroad.

In a First, Israeli Minister Arrives in Saudi Arabia as Envoy Visits West Bank, Al-Monitor
Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz left for Riyadh Tuesday as the first Israeli minister to head an official delegation to Saudi Arabia. Katz’s visit came as a Saudi envoy made a rare trip to the West Bank on Tuesday and reiterated that the Palestinian cause will be a “cornerstone” of any normalization deal.


PA Officials: If Israel Stops Unilateral Actions for Saudi Deal, We’ll Stop Ours, The Times of Israel
The Palestinian Authority wants a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia to be conditioned on Israel halting unilateral actions in the West Bank, and is prepared to halt some of its own unilateral actions in exchange, two senior Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel.

Israel Strikes Militant Sites in Gaza as Unrest Continues, No Casualties, AP
Israeli airstrikes hit several targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the country’s military said, after Palestinian protesters flocked for the twelfth straight day to the enclave’s frontier with Israel — demonstrations that have devolved into violent clashes with Israeli security forces.

Amid Criticism, Saudi Envoy Postpones Visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Haaretz
Reports of the expected visit to Al-Aqsa generated reactions, particularly on social media, in Jerusalem and Gaza, where some called for preventing the visit, considering it a signal of normalization.

Pressure Mounts on Ben Gvir to ‘Lower the Flames,’ Call Off Tel Aviv Prayer Rally, The Times of Israel
Members of the coalition called Wednesday on far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to cancel his planned Orthodox prayer service at Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Square on Thursday evening.

Jewish Writers, Bible Stories and Holocaust History are on New List of Every Banned Book in the US, The Forward
The list includes Maus and a graphic adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary, along with stories from the Old Testament and nonfiction books about the Holocaust. The latest bans took 1,557 titles off the shelves.

Opinion and Analysis

American Jews Take a New Tone with Israel, The Washington Post
Jennifer Rubin argues, “The most prominent political Jewish organization, AIPAC, should heed the new attitude of candor or constructive criticism […] The days of unqualified, uncritical support from most American Jews for whatever the present Israeli prime minister and his government cook up appear to have passed. When democracy is under assault in both Israel and the United States, democracy defenders need to speak up for common values, understanding that the preservation of the rule of law, democracy and judicial independence is essential to both democracies’ survival.”

Israel-Palestine: The Legacy of Oslo and the Future of a Two-state Solution [Podcast], The Conversation
Despite the promise of the Oslo accords in the early 1990s, the negotiations that followed never cemented an Israel-Palestine peace deal. What lessons do they hold for the future? The Conversation asks two insiders to the negotiations: Palestinian political and civil society leader, Hanan Ashrawi, and Israeli former deputy foreign minister and minister of justice, Yossi Beilin, what future they see for the two-state solution.