Media Summary

The Telegraph reports that Isaac Herzog has warned that the country is on the brink of an “internal struggle” that could “consume us all” over the government’s controversial legal reforms.


The BBCSky NewsThe Guardian and the Financial Times all report on our main story, that nine Palestinians were killed when troops reportedly encircled buildings amid a storm of gunfire, grenades and tear gas in the Jenin refugee camp. Palestinian officials say two of the dead were civilians, including a 61-year-old woman, while militant groups claim the other seven as members. Reuters reports retaliatory rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli air strikes in response.

The Independent report on our story from Wednesday, that recent US-Israel joint exercises. Juniper Oak 23.2 is a bilateral, live-fire exercise that took place in Israel and the Mediterranean Sea. Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder explains: “Throughout the week-long engagement, more than 140 aircraft, 12 naval vessels, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, and multiple-launch rocket systems will be used during this combined, joint, all-domain exercise, increasing our ability to interoperate on land, in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace”.

The Telegraph reports that Isaac Herzog has warned that the country is on the brink of an “internal struggle” that could “consume us all” over the government’s controversial legal reforms. In an unusual intervention, Herzog, whose role is usually largely ceremonial, said he feared that bitter division over plans to drastically reform the Israeli legal system could pull the state apart if they were carried out recklessly. Separately, the paper reports that the killing of three Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers this month and plans by the Israeli government to annex swathes of the West Bank have also stoked fears of a major escalation in the Holy Land.

The I publishes an opinion piece, saying that “now that the US and even Germany are sending tanks to Ukraine, the refusal of Israel to send Kyiv a single bullet has gone from awkward, to untenable. It further diminishes the reputation of a country whose current leader Benjamin Netanyahu describes as an “oasis of democracy” in the Middle East – even as the far-right elements of his government seek to emasculate the courts, extend illegal West Bank settlements, roll back civil rights and, if latest reports from Israelis are to be believed, shut down the national broadcaster Kan”.

The Financial Times reports that on Tuesday, more than 100 Israeli tech groups gave staff permission to join a “warning strike” in Tel Aviv against the plans, which would give the government and its allies control over the appointment of judges, and severely limit the top court’s ability to strike down government decisions. The hour-long protest drew only a thousand people. But it was the latest in a series of warnings from Israel’s business community about the reform, which critics fear will give the government close to unchecked power.

The Economist have released a new podcast on the Israeli judicial system.

The Israeli media notes that today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Ynet covers President Herzog’s address to the EU parliament.  In his speech Herzog said that liberty, equality, justice, and peace are the fundamental values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel, “which we shall uphold and defend at any cost.” Herzog also said that Israel has established “a resilient and democratic society, composed of an unparalleled human mosaic of Jews and Arabs, people of every religion and faith.” The president also warned, “the Holocaust was not conceived in a vacuum,” highlighting the dangers of mounting antisemitism today. Kan News reports that Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said at UN Headquarters in New York last night that talking about Holocaust remembrance was not enough and that one of its lessons that must be learned was to support Israel and the Jewish people when they fight against murderous terrorism that threatens to harm innocent Jews. I expect that support today, he said against the backdrop of the Palestinians’ motion to the UN Security Council. He said the activity in Jenin was the embodiment of the oath we swear: Never again.

All the Israeli media cover the statement made on Twitter yesterday by, Eynat Guez, CEO of Papaya Global, who announced that “following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statements that he is determined to pass reforms that will harm democracy and the economy, we made a business decision at Papaya Global to withdraw all of the company’s funds from Israel.” She added, “In the emerging reform, there is no certainty that we can conduct international economic activity from Israel,”, calling the move “a painful but necessary business step.” Papaya Global, a global recruitment platform valued at $3.7 billion which employs 500 people in Israel, is the first hi-tech company to take action in response to the proposed judicial reforms. Guez is a prominent figure in the protest movement and gave a speech at the anti-government rally in Tel Aviv last weekend. Haaretz reports that following Guez’s announcement, venture capitalists Tal Barnoach and Yorai Fainmesser announced that their Disruptive and Disruptive AI venture capital funds would move $250 million dollars abroad. “Assuming the reform, which is a judicial coup, will happen, this will create economic instability in Israel and there will be one branch of government that can do whatever it wants, including changing taxation and the ways in which companies operate,” Barnoach told financial daily Calcalist.  The paper also notes that in a joint op-ed published in Yediot Aharonot earlier this week, former Bank of Israel Governors Karnit Flug and Jacob Frenkel warned that Levin’s plan “could deal a severe blow to Israel’s economy and its citizens” and “lead to a decrease in the willingness of foreign investors to invest in Israel.” Prime Minister Netanyahu related to this on Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu countered that the State of Israel had just raised $2 billion from international institutional investors in a bond offering, for which he said demand exceeded $10 billion. Referring to the economic criticisms in last Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu countered that the State of Israel had just raised $2 billion from international institutional investors in a bond offering, for which he said demand exceeded $10 billion.

Channel 12 News reports that US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides met yesterday with fifteen of the most senior Israeli business executives to hear their concerns over how the proposed government judicial reforms will affect Israel’s economy. The meeting included the CEOs of Israeli banks, El Al, mobile phone and hi tech companies. Some expressed concern that the changes would lead credit agencies to downgrade Israel’s economic ratings and put off foreign investors. However, according to the report, two of the fifteen said they didn’t think the proposed changes would negatively impact the economy.

Further mass protests are again expected this Saturday night. According to Ynet the former police commissioner Roni Alsheich announced he will be among those speaking this weekend. This will be the third major protest against the reforms. The largest rally is again expected to be in Tel Aviv alongside small protests in Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, and Haifa.

Maariv includes a poll that reveals forty-four percent of the public opposes the judicial reform, contrasted with 39 percent who support it. Respondents were asked, “From everything you know and have heard, do you support or oppose the government’s judicial reform?”

Among the opponents, 31 percent were “very opposed” and 13 percent were “fairly opposed.” Among supporters, 21 percent said they were “very supportive” and 18 percent said that they were fairly supportive. The poll also found that the coalition would weaken by four seats if elections were held today.

Israel Hayom reports that the government is expected to vote on a series of measures aimed at retroactively approving dozens of unauthorised West Bank outposts. The paper notes that according to the coalition agreement “a ministerial forum headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu will have to be formed within 30 days of the government being sworn in and that within sixty days, the cabinet will have to pass a resolution to have those communities get official recognition, launching an 18-month process that would culminate in them being connected to the electricity grid and water infrastructure, as well as other essential services and security.” According to the paper, “the first part of the agreement will be put into motion as early as Sunday when several major items will be on the agenda during the weekly cabinet session. The ministers will ask to approve a series of technical measures that would facilitate the communities’ being linked to critical infrastructure and help them cut red tape for the construction of public buildings.”

Aryeh Deri gave his first interview since being fired from the cabinet to Channel 12 News last night. Deri was confident of his return, saying, “I don’t know how… but I’ll be back as a minister when the Knesset passes legislation. Whether that’s in two weeks, one month, or two months.” He rejected the claim that he lied to the judges when he agreed a plea bargain to tax offences last year, claiming he only agreed to resign temporarily from the Knesset so that he could run again in the November election with the goal of returning not only to the Knesset but to also be a minister.