Q. On Sunday April 30, the Knesset returned for its summer session after a month-long holiday break. Why is the coalition now postponing legislation for its ‘judicial reform’? Did the anti-reform demonstrators win? Did PM Netanyahu get cold feet?

A. The coalition is postponing its judicial reform legislation for a number of interlocking reasons. It committed publicly, when the spring legislative session ended a month ago, to participate in compromise negotiations at President Herzog’s residence that could continue at least until the end of May. Those negotiations have neither succeeded fully nor failed. Prime Minister Netanyahu has publicly committed to allowing time for them to succeed. Basically, this commitment reflects recognition that months of anti-reform demonstrations succeeded in obliging the coalition to at least temporarily rethink its program and its priorities.

Then too, the Netanyahu government must pass a budget by the end of May or, by law, the Knesset will be dissolved. This could fully occupy the legislators in the coming weeks. The task is not simple because budget-preparation has been neglected hitherto in favor of the thus-far abortive judicial reform effort. Then too, in order to form this coalition Netanyahu made extravagant commitments to his partners whose fulfilment could generate a huge inflationary deficit. Note that the previous Bennett-Lapid coalition left Netanyahu a budget surplus.

The security situation is also demanding attention. Demonstrations against the government have echoed within the IDF. This sends Israel’s neighbors a problematic message. The Islamists among them, led by Iran, believe they perceive a weakening of Israeli deterrence due to internal dissent, exacerbated by a weakening of the American security commitment in the Middle East. Last week’s appearance by Iranian Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian, peering into Israel through the northern border fence with Hezbollah and Lebanon, seemed eerily symbolic.

Months of massive anti-reform demonstrations and polls unfavorable to Netanyahu, his coalition and its judicial reform initiative have indeed left their mark. The prime minister appears to be caught between his need to feed the beast of his extremist coalition partners and his extremist minister of justice on the one hand, and, on the other, his need to extricate himself politically from a disastrous initiative that has pitted many of the country’s key institutions--security, finance, judicial--against him. In characteristic Netanyahu fashion, he is playing for time, albeit for only a month. Note that the coalition has registered no legislative achievements whatsoever during four months in office.

Continue reading

Legislative Round-Up- April 28, 2023

Continue reading

On Israel's 75th Birthday, a Much Needed Source of Hope

As a child in a Jerusalem apartment building, my neighbors and I had an Independence Day ritual. We used to watch the Mount Herzl ceremony on black-and-white television (color broadcast started only in 1983). Minutes before the MC officially ended Memorial Day and launched Independence Day, we ran to the roof. We cleared cobwebs and pigeon drippings, slid aside several dusty red tiles, stuck our heads in the window we created, and through the pine canopy, saw the modest firework show lighting the sky in multicolor. We then walked to downtown Jerusalem to join strangers in dancing circles, street snacking, and silly pranks.

We celebrated into the night, and once we were teens we celebrated through the night. It was my favorite holiday, a secular holiday that expressed unity and strength, communality in grief and celebration, taking pride in collective accomplishments and common purpose.

Over the years, Israel changed, and with it the character of the holiday. And so did I.

Continue reading

Recording- Four Months into Israel's Protest Movement with Dr. Shikma Bressler

Continue reading

Yesterday, the House passed a resolution celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. In a major break from longstanding bipartisan policy and past Congressional resolutions celebrating Israel's founding, the House Republican Leadership chose to strip any reference to the Two-State Solution from the text.

We at Americans for Peace Now have been celebrating Israel’s independence and working for peace for over 40 years. As we mark the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel and we look toward the future of the state, we must recognize that a stable, secure and prosperous future for the state of Israel is contingent on the same for the Palestinian people. Supporting the State of Israel means acknowledging this important truth and advocating for a just end to the conflict. The removal of the Two State Solution language is a concerning reflection of the Republican party's departure from a longstanding bipartisan position.

Americans for Peace Now's President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: "The language of this resolution describes the United States and Israel as 'partners who share common values and a commitment to democracy'. It is clear that House Republicans share values and 'a commitment to democracy' with the Netanyahu government, but the decision to strip support for the Two-State Solution from the text requires that we ask exactly what “shared values” is Kevin McCarthy referring to? And more importantly, it begs the question, what future solution to the conflict do House Republicans support?"

Continue reading

Action Alert- Stand up for Israel’s Democracy

Israel’s protest movement needs our support. 

While Prime Minister Netanyahu has delayed the so-called “judicial reform” until the Knesset reconvenes in May, the fight to save Israel’s democracy is far from over. If enacted, this overhaul would destroy Israel’s independent judiciary and change the very nature of Israel’s government, away from a liberal democracy and toward a dictatorship of the corrupt.

Continue reading

Eshoo/Raskin Letter to the Protesters Defending Israeli Democracy

To the Protestors Defending Israeli Democracy: 

As Members of Congress and friends of Israel, we write to voice our support and admiration for the groundswell of pro-democracy activism in Israel in recent months. Through peaceful protests and strikes, you have delayed the advancement of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s extreme plan to eviscerate the independence of the Israeli judiciary, and we’re hopeful that through continued activism, you will stop it once and for all.  

Along with so many of you and with our own constituents, we’ve watched with dismay as the governing coalition has forged ahead with judicial overhaul legislation that would do profound harm to Israel’s democratic institutions. The legislation gives the governing coalition control over critical judicial appointments, enables the Knesset to overturn Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority vote, ends judicial review of Israel’s Basic Laws by the Supreme Court, and sharply curtails the Court’s ability to review other laws. If enacted, this proposal would virtually eliminate the checks and balances that are crucial to maintaining a healthy democracy. 

Continue reading

Legislative Round-Up- April 21, 2023

Continue reading

Israel at 75 (Hard Questions, Tough Answers- April 24, 2023)


Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

Continue reading

20 April 2023

Dear UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Under Secretary-General Miguel Ángel Moratinos:

Our coalition of 104 civil society organizations is writing to you to voice our strong support for the United Nations’ commitment to combatting antisemitism in line with international human rights standards. Antisemitism is a pernicious ideology that poses real harm to Jewish communities around the world and requires meaningful action to combat it. Our organizations call on world leaders to condemn antisemitism and to take steps to protect Jewish communities, including holding perpetrators of hate crimes accountable.

As the UN develops its own action plan towards a coordinated and enhanced response to antisemitism rooted in human rights, we are aware that a number of Member State governments and organizations aligned with some of those governments, as well as the former Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Ahmed Shaheed, have been advocating that the UN adopt and use the “working definition of antisemitism” of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). We urge the UN not to do so.

Continue reading
1 2 34 5 ...213 214 215