Fern Reiss

July 21 Update

photo courtesty of Canva
photo courtesty of Canva

A quick overview, for those finding it challenging to track the ever-changing details:

Religious Zionists Against Overhaul: Rabbis Mosheh Lichtenstein and Dr Rav Yoel Bin Nun, both of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut, & Dr Rachel Levmore, Member of the Israel State Commission for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges. Motzash, 9:15 pm, Eitan Square, Efrat.

Knesset’s Health Committee chair Uriel Busso, in response to the Israel Medical Association which held a two-hour warning strike yesterday threatening a longer strike, threatened the IMA will lose their status. “If it is going to turn itself into a political organization, then we will treat it like any political organization, and not as a professional medical one.” In what news reported as revenge, the government announced the cancelation of the physician’s assistant program in development. (News sources report that Busso (Shas), Moshe Roth (United Torah Judaism), and Etti Atiya (Likud) decided this.)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir shared widely on Facebook, now removed, a (fake) video showing Israeli pilots refusing help to ground forces, after ascertaining they supported judicial overhaul, a poke at the reservist volunteers.

The Israel Bar Association held an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss judicial overhaul. Newly elected IBA head Amit Becher ran on an anti-overhaul platform. Following his election, the government has declared its intent to strip the IBA of its authority to license lawyers and pick judges.

Halachot of the three weeks:
Shaving: Forbidden
Igniting a civil war in Israel: Permitted

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July 20

Hundreds of IDF reservists, many in the Air Force and Shayetet, have refused miluim (which for them is voluntary) because of the government overhaul. JPost reported that army sources expect the number may reach a thousand reservists this week. 300 IDF medical reservists, including Dr Or Goren, head of surgery at Ichilov, have also said they would end their reserve duty. Nadav Argaman, who led the Shin Bet security service 2016 until 2021, told Army Radio that he supports the reservists’ refusal to serve. “We are on the brink of civil war.”

93% of the 300,000 Bedouins in the Negev, all Israeli citizens, surveyed this week said they knew very little or nothing at all about Israel’s judicial overhaul, according to a Rifman Institute survey.

President Isaac Herzog spoke to a standing ovation in the US Congress, assuring them that “democracy is in Israel’s DNA.” The Biden White House has explicitly said that Israel needs to reconsider judicial reform, lest the countries’ special relationship “sustain irreparable damage.”

Last night in a 9 (support) to 7 (opposed) vote, and after rejecting 27,000+ objections, MK Simcha Rothman’s Knesset Constitution Committee approved the Reasonableness Bill, for its second and third readings in the Knesset. It is expected to pass on Monday or a Tuesday.

Pro-government demonstration announced by Likud MK May Golan for Kaplan in Tel Aviv, Sunday at 6 pm, to “show the left wingers.”

The hundred-person spontaneous anti-overhaul march, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, is now in its third day. It is expected to end Saturday night, in front of the Knesset.

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Sunday, four days before Tisha b’Av, there will be an 8 am communal prayer at the Western Wall (announced by a list of prestigious rabbis). After the prayers, at 8:45 am, to express the unbreakable connection between Judaism and democracy, there will be a march of flags, with a human chain marching from the Kotel to the Knesset (estimated arrival at the Knesset, 11am.)

There is pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu from the Biden White House to cancel the overhaul, and opposing pressure from Coalition partners (most recently, today, Likud MK Dudi Amsalem) to fire Attorney-General Gali Baharav Miara. Still unclear which way this will swing.

Aliyah is down 20% this year, according to statistics. Most of this is attributed to judicial overhaul (and probably resulting worries about the economy.)

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July 18

As part of the non-violent protest, protesters are now walking from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They will be walking for the next four days, 15 km each day.

The Israeli Medical Association announced a two-hour doctor warning-strike (for all but emergency situations) today. (If judicial overhaul continues, they have said that there will be a full doctor strike.)

161 Air Force reservists announced they are stopping their volunteer reserve service, effective immediately.

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