“There was no need for this legislation: Israel was already a Jewish homeland. Hebrew is unchallenged as the primary language of daily discourse in every sphere of life. And this government – and every government in Israel’s history – already gave preference to the development of the Jewish population. Its main purpose appears to be shoring up Prime Minister Netanyahu’s status with right-wing voters ahead of possible elections later this year or next.”
“J Street’s president and founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami, harshly criticized the nation-state bill and Netanyahu’s government: ‘It was born in sin, its only purpose is to send a message to the Arab community, the LGBT community and other minorities in Israel, that they are not and never will be equal citizens. Two months ago we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, where it was written that the State of Israel ‘will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender.’ Today Netanyahu’s government is trying to ignore those words and the values that they represent.”
“[In] a Washington Post opinion piece, Alan Elsner of J Street suggests that Cohen’s persona as an Israeli military officer made conservatives predisposed to go along with whatever he wanted to do. ‘How Cohen did it says a lot about the reflexive support for Israel that many Americans—particularly many Republicans—now espouse, to the point that they’re willing to switch off their critical faculties when Israel is mentioned,’ Elsner writes.”
Two former officials from President Barack Obama’s administration now have more money to spend than the Republican lawmakers they hope to replace.
Andy Kim, a former national security aide, raised $781,629 from May 17 to June 30. J Street, the biggest pro-Israel PAC by campaign donations, raised $20,737 for his campaign.
Israel just dropped the pretense of equality for Palestinian citizens, Los Angeles Times
Yousef Jabareen writes, “The final reading of the nation-state bill took place just days after the Knesset rejected a bill that I, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and Knesset member, had introduced. My bill called for Israel to guarantee full equality for all of its citizens, regardless of religion or race. A similar bill introduced in June calling for Israel to be a country “for all its citizens” was banned from even being discussed. The fate of these three bills confirms what Palestinians have always known: In Israel, only Jews enjoy the full rights and privileges of citizenship.”
Netanyahu’s Israel will know no peace, Al-Monitor
Akiva Eldar writes, “I believe that we are doing the right things. It would be worthwhile to pay attention not only to what we are saying, but to what we are doing,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on a July 17 visit to the IDF Gaza Division. So what are Israel’s leaders doing to ensure the welfare of the Israelis living along the Gaza border and to protect their fields against the flaming kites destroying their crops? The answer lies in the newspapers’ archives. They are doing exactly what they did the previous time warning sirens blared and sent the children in the border town of Sderot running to shelters. They will probably do the same again next time.”
Israel’s top security officials, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, met late Thursday to evaluate conditions in the South following a projectile launched by Hamas landing in Israel Thursday afternoon.
Abbas urges world to halt ‘racist’ nation-state law, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community to intervene against Israel over its newly passed nation-state law, calling the contentious piece of legislation “racist” and bristling at its affirmation of Jerusalem as the country’s capital.
Leading Jewish groups in the United States offered blistering criticism on Thursday over two developments that made headlines in Israel: the police questioning of a Conservative rabbi in Haifa for officiating a non-Orthodox wedding, and the Knesset’s passage of the nation-state law, which, among other things, downgraded the status of the Arabic language in Israel.
President Bashar al-Assad is set to recover control of the Syrian frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in a major victory over rebels who have agreed to surrender terms, sources on both sides said on Thursday.
Hungary’s Orban visits Western Wall to wrap up Israel trip, Times of Israel
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday ended a brief but controversial trip to Israel with a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
A day after the Knesset voted to exclude same-sex couples from a law expanding Israel’s surrogacy rights, large swathes of Israeli business took the unusual step of entering the political fray and coming out forcefully for LGBT rights.
Sarah Brammer-Shlay writes, “We are living in a time in which, across the world, my generation is standing up to anti-democratic and oppressive policies. And that’s why people are so quick to call those who walked off their Birthright trips brats: They know that if masses of Jews actually see the reality of Israel’s military rule over millions of Palestinians for themselves, they will not only be unable to support it — they will also join the growing movement to end the occupation. So instead they use disparaging, condescending terms to attempt to dismiss and delegitimize them outright. My hope is that more young Jews are inspired enough to take similar action to disrupt the silence of our community, as the Birthright walk-offs did. Because for the sake of the Jewish future, we need them.”
Listen to Eisenkot, Not to Bennett, Haaretz
The Haaretz editorial board writes, “There are partners who are willing to help Israel and the Palestinians to reach understandings over the confrontation in the Gaza Strip. Sustainable plans that could yield long-term quiet are on the table. After the end of every military operation or war that Israel conducts in Gaza, those same plans will be on the agenda. The government must advance these plans before and instead of rushing into war. The Israeli public doesn’t need a grand show that begins with a horrifying display of force and ends with destruction and the loss of life.”