Dear Temple Members,
Many thanks to those of you who have expressed appreciation for these updates. I will not be able to send one next week, but will continue doing so the first week of April.
Biden tells Netanyahu in call he's concerned about Israel's judicial overhaul plan
Key Israeli lawmaker Brings the Fight Over Judicial Coup to America - Israel News - Haaretz.com - Labor MK Gilad Kari, the first Reform rabbi to serve in the Knesset,speaks to US rabbis and legislators
Warning from Israel’s President:
Jewish Times of Israel - Israeli-president-isaac-herzog-warns-of-a-looming-bloody-real-civil-war
Impacts on security forces and military:
Over 250 Israeli Air Force Reservists Join Refusal Movement, Will Not Show Up for Training This Week - Israel News - Haaretz.com
A Month From Today, We May Not Know Who Gives Orders to Israel's Military
Analysis of “secular” vs “religious” tensions:
When Secular Israelis Stand Up to Their ultra-Orthodox Overlords - Opinion - Haaretz.com - by Zehava Galon, the former chairwoman of the Meretz party. - Note that the lifestyle of the majority of American Jews would be considered “secular” in Israel and our political sympathies tend to align with Israeli secular political parties that champion human rights.
A turning point:
The Pogrom Against Palestinians That Brought the Occupation Home to Jewish Israelis - Opinion - Haaretz.com
Since the pogrom committed by Israelis against the village of Huwara, Israelis have been using the term “reckoning,” as we did in America after George Floyd’s murder.
Are Israelis starting to wake up to th occupation? 972+ magazine - +972 Magazine is an independent, non-profit media initiative run by progressive young Israelis.
Repeal of law will allow rebuilding illegal settlements in West Bank:
U.S. Denounces 'Provocative' Settlement Law, Slams Smotrich's 'Dangerous' Comments on Palestinians - Israel News - Haaretz.com
Netanyahu After U.S. Rebuke: Law Allowing Return to Evacuated Settlements ‘Ends Jewish Humiliation,’ but Israel Won’t Build There
.timesofisrael.com/knesset-okays-repeal-of-disengagement-law-for-northern-west-bank - The video shows members of the Knesset dancing with settlers singing a beloved Carlebach melody.
Excerpt: National Unity leader Benny Gantz, the former defense minister and a key member of the opposition, addressed [former settlement resident, now an MK] Har-Melech in his speech on the Knesset podium before the vote, telling her: “I know that today’s vote on this law comes from an authentic, painful, and believing place,” but, he said, it is “wrong to return to northern Samaria,” using a biblical term for the northern West Bank…“We cannot ignore our need to find a way to live alongside Palestinians who are in the area. I think we have no choice. Even though we don’t agree, we have to know how to live with each other,” he said…Labor MK [Reform Rabbi] Gilad Kariv, also in the opposition, criticized the passage of the law as well and said it moved Israel “closer to a binational reality.” Calling it a “pre-annexation bill” and an “anti-Zionist law,” Kariv said the repeal would “lead to the establishment of additional illegal outposts,” result in an uptick in violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and “stretch the capabilities” of the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank.
A compelling white paper from Emor, The institute for Bold Jewish Thought - Welcome to Emor
The Divine People? The political theology of post-liberalism Suzanne Schneider PhD & Yotam Hotam PhD January 2023
Excerpt from the Executive Summary:
The rise of right-wing “populist” parties the world over has generated considerable anxiety about the future of liberal democracy. In fact, many of these parties explicitly endorse what Hungary’s Victor Orban termed ‘illiberal democracy’ – meaning a political system in which certain procedural elements of democracy (e.g. elections) remain but the laws and courts no longer aim to deliver equal treatment or protect basic human rights. In practice, illiberal democracy offers a way for nationalist movements to claim democratic credentials while legally discriminating against their purported external and internal enemies – all in the name of national preservation. While these trends are evident in countries around the globe, they are particularly present in contemporary Israel.
Seeking to better understand these movements, the authors of this report set out to study the political-theological dimensions of illiberal democracy or ‘post-liberalism’ as it is often called. Of particular interest is the way that post-liberals understand three fundamental political concepts: the law, the state, and the people, all of which exist as theological categories within Western religious traditions. As a political theory, liberalism carefully distinguished among the three concepts and their associated institutions; this was particularly the case with the liberal ideal of law as disinterested and universal. In contrast, we argue that post-liberal political movements tend to collapse the theoretical and practical distinctions between these categories: the law becomes whatever serves the interests of “the people” (a rhetorical concept that need not correspond with an actual popular majority), with the state charged with securing its implementation….
…Sitting on the precipice of a major constitutional crisis in Israel–not to mention significant moves toward West Bank annexation–as well as ongoing political turmoil in the United States, our report underscores that the imperatives of nationalism and those of democracy pull in contradictory directions. In particular, laws and state institutions that operate on a discriminatory basis in the name of protecting ‘the people’ deserve wholehearted rejection regardless of where they occur. Liberalism’s ideal of equal protection under the law may have never existed in fact, but we contend that whatever replaces it will likely be much worse – both for marginalized populations deemed ‘outsiders’ to the nation or for those stigmatized as ‘traitors’ within.
B’shalom - in peace, Rabbi Naomi