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On the Right Track in Judea and Samaria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is poised to take a series of steps that could result in a massive increase in the population of Jewish communities in Judea in Samaria over the coming years.

The plan’s components include convening the Higher Planning Council in Judea and Samaria as soon as possible and approving some 18,000 new housing units in the coming months. The plan also calls for having the council meet regularly every month rather than once every three months under previous Netanyahu governments and only twice during the past year under the shared premiership of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.

This plan will drastically reduce red-tape that limits housing construction and finally see it expedited. It will also expand the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria.

Gov’t plan could see settlement population increase by hundreds of thousands, by Tuchfeld/Israel Hayom, January 25, 2023

Netanyahu government preparing to fast-track settlement construction in move critics dub ‘mini-annexation’, by World Israel News Staff, January 25, 2023



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Transfer of Powers Begins

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has decided that the powers over the management of civilian life in Judea and Samaria will be transferred to Minister Bezalel Smotrich despite the opposition of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

According to the report, the struggle for powers in the Defense Ministry reached a climax in a heated meeting in which Netanyahu, Gallant, Smotrich, Justice Minister Yariv Levin and other senior officials participated.

Authority over military matters and matters of illegal construction by Jews and Palestinian Arabs would remain with COGAT. Since these are actions with security and policy implications, all decisions will be made subject to the Prime Minister’s oversight.

Civilian life in Judea and Samaria has been waiting for a new day to begin and we trust we can count on MK Smotrich to implement the long overdue changes needed there.

Netanyahu transfers powers over Judea and Samaria to Smotrich over Gallant’s objections, by Israel National News, January 25, 2023




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Counterterrorism Brings More Terrorism

Terrorism on the roads of Judea and Samaria is on the rise, and since this morning, at least 30 stone throwing attacks, six Molotov Cocktail attacks, and a number of other attacks have been committed against Israelis.

Several Jewish vehicles were stoned on the road between Tapuach and Ariel, one after the other. One person was lightly injured. Near Yakir, two vehicles and a bus were stoned.

The attacks follow Thursday morning’s successful counterterrorism operation in the Jenin refugee camp, in the course of which terrorists actively plotting a major attack were eliminated.

Over 30 terrorist attacks since this morning, by Israel National News, January 26, 2023


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Sore Losers on the Left

For the third weekend in a row Tel Aviv had thousands of protesters out on the street. Initially the protests were allegedly against the proposed judicial reforms, but many Israelis believe that the real protest is against a right-wing government. PLO flags can be seen amongst the protesters. Anti-Zionist slogans are abundant.

Just last Wednesday, Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced sweeping changes that would reverse the power grab by Aharon Barak that was engineered over the last 30 years. Barak’s grab gave the Supreme and High Courts power over the Executive and Legislative branches of the Israeli government. The Courts appoint themselves, the Attorney General and the legal advisors to the ministries. The justices can overrule all the elected officials using standards they set and are accountable to no one for the consequences of their decisions.

Melanie Phillips explains: “The courts control the appointment of not only their justices but also the attorneys who must appear before them—who therefore lack the independence essential in a democratic system—and even place a legal adviser in every ministerial office, with the power to veto any government policies to which the adviser objects.

These powers, which are unprecedented in any other modern democracy, are anti-democratic because they give unelected judges the power to strike down laws and policies enacted by those elected by the public to govern them. The judges can then impose their preferred policies.”

We pray that the type of reforms Minister Levin put forth are adopted with all due alacrity. We believe that all branches of Israel’s government as well as the general populace will benefit as democracy is restored. Overruling the Knesset’s decision to appoint Aryeh Deri as a minister and the specter of the Attorney general considering declaring the Prime Minister unfit to hold office are two glaring examples of judicial egregious overreach.

Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid agrees that reform is necessary. He would like to have a presidential committee decide how to best reform the system, even though there is a system and committee in place in the government to make such decisions.

Knesset Opposition Leader Yair Lapid Now Supports Judicial Reform, by Jewish Press News Desk, January 23, 2023

Unhinged: The Reaction to Israel’s New Israeli Government, by Melanie Phillips/Jewish Press, January 23, 2023



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Equal Legal Standards for Arab and Israeli Building? 

Israeli defense Minister ordered the evacuation of an outpost in Samaria built in memory of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, z’l. Finance Minister Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit’s Israeli National Security Minister disagreed with that order. As Smotrich is also a Minister in the Defense Department he issued an order stopping the evacuation. Apparently that order was overruled. While MK Itamar Ben-Gvir called on MK Yoav Galant to stop the evacuation, it appears Ben-Gvir was too late.

This while the illegal village of Khan al-Ahmar and 170 illegally built Arab structures in Area C remain standing.

Double standard? MK Danny Danon certainly thinks so and has called on the government to order the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar ASAP. As for Ben Gvir, it seems he missed the boat and he cannot afford to have this happen again.

After outpost demolished, Ben-Gvir calls for law to be applied equally to illegal Arab structures, by JNS, January 22, 2023

Likud MKs call on government to evacuate illegal village of Khan al-Ahmar, by Josh Hasten/JNS, January 23, 2023

UPDATE: Samaria Outpost Named after Rabbi Drukman Dismantled, by David Israel/Jewish Press, January 20, 2023

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A Work in Progress: Reforming Judicial Overreach

Yesterday Israel’s court issued its bombshell ruling against Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas party head) that he can no longer serve as minister. This now forces Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to either remove Deri from his cabinet or act in direct contravention of the Supreme Court. Deri has publicly said that he would not comply with the ruling and not step down should the court say he cannot continue as a minister.

Netanyahu must now decide whether to remove Deri from his cabinet or act against the Supreme Court. Netanyahu may use the ruling as an example of judicial overreach, presumably to strengthen his government’s proposed overhaul of the legal system.

In response to the court’s ruling, the Shas party has threatened to bring down the government by pulling its support if Netanyahu fires Deri following the verdict.

If Netanyahu does fire Deri and Shas acts on its threat (which is very unlikely), it would be a tragedy and terrible setback for the people of Israel. This scenario could happen as long as the Supreme Court’s role remains unreformed or codified. Until Israel’s courts are fully functioning with the reforms so urgently needed, challenges and threats such as that in the Deri case will continue. Reforming the judicial system is a work in progress. This ruling gives significant proof that reform is needed. We pray it happens quickly.

COALITION CRISIS: Supreme Court rules against Deri – will Netanyahu gov’t fall?, by Lauren Marcus/World Israel News, January 18, 2023



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Can the New Government’s Actions Save Homesh?

Eight rabbis and students of the Homesh Yeshiva appeared at the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court for the hearing of the indictments filed against them for violating the Disengagement Law by studying at Homesh.

At their request, the court postponed all hearings for 4 months in light of the state’s notification to the Supreme Court that it intends to cancel the law as it pertains to the northern parts of Samaria and formally recognize the Yeshiva.

We are grateful the Supreme Court has postponed the hearing. Now we wait for the Disengagement Law to be cancelled before the 4 months is up.

Court postpones hearing of Homesh Yeshiva students, by Israel National News, January 19, 2023





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Erdan: Methodology of Discrimination

Erdan: Methodology of Discrimination

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan addressed the UN Security Council yesterday during a meeting on the situation in the Middle East. The Ambassador attacked the lies the Palestinian Authority and its supporters present at the UN. He said, “Over and over again, we have heard how the past year has been the deadliest year for the Palestinians…Yet these numbers and statistics are not facts. Not even close. They are based on a fundamentally flawed and biased methodology. A methodology of discrimination, which Israel refuses to accept.

Ambassador Erdan added, “According to the UN report presented to you, here, only twenty Israelis were murdered by terrorists in 2022, when in reality thirty-one Israelis were murdered. Same goes for injured Israelis. The UN number 253 for injured Israelis, whereas the true number is 418.

Facts matter, accuracy matters. The UN needs to get them straight.

Erdan blasts UN’s inaccurate reporting on Israeli terror casualties, by Israel National News, January 18, 2023





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The Race is On to Reform Israel’s Judicial System

Knesset Constitution Committee chairman MK Simcha Rothman intends to submit in the coming days his own version of a judicial reform bill. The wording that Rothman will present will not be the same as that presented by Justice Minister Yariv Levin. It will include changes and, among other things, the composition of the committee for the appointment of judges will be slightly different from Levin’s proposal – but apparently the principle that the coalition will have a majority on the committee will be maintained.

Rothman’s goal is to promote the reform quickly after the attorney general indicated that it would take weeks for her to formulate her opinion on his and Levin’s proposals.

Justice reform is reasonable and right, as David Weinberger lays out in his Israel Hayom article. The much-too-powerful actors in Israel’s legal system have upset Israeli democracy by usurping powers they were never intended to have by Israel’s founders or parliamentarians; powers that extend far beyond those held by the legal system in any other democracy.

Whether the proposal submitted by Levin or Rothman get passed, there is no threat to Democracy presented, only a long overdue need to restore the balance of power between the judiciary, legislature, and government. Judicial reform is mandatory in order to restore checks, and balances to the Israeli judicial system. Levin has proposed one method of reform, Rothman’s may be more acceptable to the public.

Judicial reform is reasonable and right, by  David M. Weinberg/Israel Hayom, January 17, 2023

MK Rothman to submit new judicial reform bill in coming days, by Israel National News, January 17, 2023



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Youth to Prime Minister: Build the Zionist Vision, Sovereignty Now

In a lightning campaign conducted by members of the Sovereignty Youth Movement, more than one thousand signatures were gathered from teenagers and youths calling upon the Israeli government to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley first. In the coming days, with the completion of the signature gathering, the petition will be submitted to the Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the government ministers.

The youth are calling upon the new Israeli government to implement the promises made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu many times in the past regarding his commitment to the application of sovereignty in the Jordan Valley. These promises, the movement mentions, have the broad support of all the members of the coalition, as well as the members of the opposition loyal to the Zionist vision.

AFSI’s late Co-Director, Helen Freedman, z”l, was convinced that AFSI’s next most important mission was to educate young people about Israel’s truth. It’s clear that Israel’s youth are well educated on this subject and have chosen to assert themselves. They are an integral part of the building and maintaining the Zionist dream. Helen would be overjoyed with pride to see Israel’s youth taking a stand in support of sovereignty.

Sovereignty Youth Is Petitioning: Sovereignty Over the Jordan Valley first, by Israel National News, January 17, 2023


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