Israel news summary

Israel News for 3-17-2023

News Update

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with German Chancellor Scholz and German President Frank-Water Steinmeier and discussed the threats posed by Iran as well as the sale of Arrow-3 defense systems to Germany. Scholz urged Netanyahu to accept the compromise proposal presented by Israel’s President Herzog, regarding the judicial reforms. Netanyahu said that Israel will remain a liberal democracy, but that the President’s proposal does not reflect the will of the majority of the people. Scholz also said that expansion of settlements does not contribute to peace in the Middle East and that Germany was working to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Israeli forces conducted a raid in Jenin yesterday to arrest wanted terrorists. A firefight broke out, during which 4 terrorists were killed, including 2 Hamas leaders.

Around 650 reservists in IDF intelligence and cyber units said yesterday that as of Sunday, they would no longer report for duty because of the judicial reform being advanced by the government. Reservists from other elite units and Air Force pilots who have warned they would not volunteer for duty if the judicial reform becomes law.

A Gallup poll published yesterday showed that 49% of US Democrats are sympathetic to the Palestinians vs 38% who are sympathetic to Israel. The poll also showed that 78% of Republicans are sympathetic to Israel vs only 11% for the Palestinians. For more, click here.

[Some readers have asked about my views regarding the judicial reform process. I think Israel’s judicial system has some major issues that need to be worked out. I also think some parts of the judicial reform package need to be compromised on by both sides because they likely are too drastic in their current form. The government’s main argument in pushing ahead with the process to make the judicial reform law is that the voters gave them the mandate to do so by voting for them in the election. While it’s true that democracy is based on majority rule, I think that faced with an issue that splits the country so drastically, the government needs to pause and try to come up with a compromise solution — even if they do have enough votes to pass it as is. Israel is still a very young country, and the systems that govern it need to be developed more, in a thoughtful manner, with all sides participating in the process. It’s time to work together to make Israel a better functioning democracy, and judicial reforms, based on compromise, is a good place to start.]