Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-20-2023

News Update

Five families established a new illegal outpost, Or Chaim, on a strategic hilltop in northern Samaria overnight Thursday to mark one month since the death of religious Zionist leader Rabbi Chaim Druckman. The establishment of the settlement is a potential test for the coalition which has committed to entrenching Israel’s control over the territory. A large IDF was gathered outside the site today, indicating that it would likely be evacuated. For more, click here.

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut vowed, in private conversations, that she would resign her position several months early in protest if government reforms to radically overhaul Israel’s judicial and legal system passes the Knesset in its current form. Justice Minister Yariv Levin has proposed weakening the Supreme Court so that it will not be able to veto legislation and policies deemed unconstitutional, and granting the government control over the panel that selects judges. For more, click here.

The Supreme Court ruled that Shas leader Aryeh Deri cannot serve as a minister in the government because of a prior tax fraud conviction. Israel’s attorney general told the Prime Minister that he must fire Deri from his current posts as Interior and Health Minister. This is a major test of the role of the judicial system in Israel, as well as a test of the strength of the current government coalition.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan discussed the war in Ukraine with Israel leaders during a trip to Israel and the West Bank.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, said that normalization with Israel would only occur if the Palestinians get a state.

New York based real estate firm Extell Development, owned by Gary Barnett (an Orthodox Jew), has purchased a major parcel of land in central Jerusalem from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate for NIS 750 million ($216 million). The 520 dunams of property is currently leased by Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeYisrael until 2051 with an extension option for a further rental period. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate is the second biggest owner of real estate in Israel, after the Israeli government, having bought land from the Ottoman rulers in the 19th century. It is the largest and wealthiest church in the Holy Land, commanding massive real estate holdings dating back hundreds of years. For more, click here.