Knesset Passes Reasonableness Law, Thousands of Reservists Won’t Serve Anymore
Reasonableness Bill Passes 64-0 after Compromise Falls at Last Minute: The reasonableness standard bill has officially passed into law, marking the first bill in the government’s contentious judicial reform to pass into law after six months of fierce public debate and negotiations on a possible compromise that lasted until the last minute.
The opposition boycotted the vote, and the final tally was 64-0. Every member of the coalition voted in favor of the bill. The voting on the bill’s second reading included 140 objections and lasted a number of hours. The voting began after a marathon 26-hour debate that began on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionist Party) summed up the debate.
The drama continued until the very last minute, as negotiations over a compromise continued between MKs in the plenum itself throughout the vote, with President Isaac Herzog reportedly speaking on the phone at one point with Shas chairman MK Aryeh Deri, and representatives of the President’s Residence speaking on the phone to Netanyahu as well.
The “reasonableness standard bill” is an amendment to Basic Law: The Judiciary, that would block Israel’s courts from applying what is known as the “reasonableness standard” to decisions made by elected officials.
The bill’s current wording bars the use of the standard for decisions made by the prime minister, the cabinet as a whole, or any specific minister. It also bars its use against a minister’s decision not to use his or her authority and on ministers’ appointments of government workers. (JPost /VFI News)
“God, we pray that You help our leaders in making the right decisions for our country and its citizens. We pray that the conflicts in Israel will soon be resolved and that every Israeli will be treated fairly and impartially by the judicial system and the government alike.”
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Another 10,000 IDF Reservists Announce They Won’t Serve Anymore: Some 10,000 reservists from throughout the IDF will no longer show up for service, they announced in a press conference on Saturday evening, July 22, according to Israeli media.
These reservists are joining 1,142 Air Force reservists who made the same announcement in a letter on Friday. “This is one of the most difficult evenings for the State of Israel, but it’s also one of the most important in the state’s history,” said Brothers in Arms leader Eyal Neve.
“We represent some 10,000 reservists who are telling the government, the defense minister, and the prime minister the responsibility is on you! If you want us on your side as we’ve served under right and left-wing governments, we are calling on you to stop the legislation.”
“I’ve served in the Air Force for 35 years,” said a former fighter pilot. “The people in the force are my family, and this is a difficult day for us. The deep commitment to Judaism and democracy is the inner fuel of our engine. Our statement is clear: If the government violates the basic values and becomes a dictatorship, we won’t serve.”
A group of former IDF, Israel Police, Mossad, and Shin Bet chiefs backed up this decision in a letter that was sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday. The reservists were also defended by former IDF chief of staff MK Gadi Eisenkot who said they weren’t refusniks.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Histadrut Bar-David threatened a major strike of the workforce in Israel on Monday, July 24, after the reasonableness bill passed. (JPost / VFI News)
“Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.” – Deuteronomy 16:18
3,600-Plus Palestinian Terror Attacks in First Half of 2023: The escalation in Palestinian terrorism that started over a year ago shows no signs of abating, data from Rescuers Without Borders (Hatzalah Judea and Samaria) published on Tuesday, July 18, indicates.
In the first six months of 2023, the emergency service recorded 3,640 acts of terror throughout Israel, including 2,118 cases of rock-throwing, 799 attacks with Molotov cocktails, 18 attempted stabbings, and six car rammings. The number of shootings has already surpassed last year’s total, with 101 instances of gunfire directed at Israelis reported.
Hatzalah’s figures do not include the hundreds of attacks on security personnel during counterterrorism operations in Palestinian villages. Palestinian terrorists have killed 28 people and wounded 362 others since January, the organization said.
In addition, two Israelis died from wounds sustained in previous years. Shimon Maatuf died in February after suffering severe head wounds in an attack by two Palestinians armed with axes in 2022, and New York-born Chana Nachenberg died last month after a Palestinian suicide bombing put her in a coma 22 years ago.
Hatzalah released its biannual report on terrorism amid yet another uptick in Arab attacks throughout Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.
On Tuesday, July 18, security forces thwarted a possible terrorist attack at the Shuafat checkpoint in northeastern Jerusalem, arresting a 14-year-old Palestinian suspect who behaved suspiciously and had a knife in his possession. Two days earlier, an Israeli man was shot and seriously wounded, and his two daughters lightly injured, in a Palestinian drive-by shooting near the Tekoa Junction in Gush Etzion. (I365N / VFI News)
“God, we pray for the families of the victims that have been killed by Palestinian terrorists. We ask that You comfort them during this devastating period of mourning and that You protect Israel so that no more innocent civilians die or get injured from terrorist attacks.”
Islamic Jihad Terrorists Attack Worshippers at Joseph’s Tomb: One person was reported dead and several wounded in clashes that erupted in Shechem (Nablus) on Wednesday, July 19, night after Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists attacked Jewish worshippers and their military escort at Joseph’s Tomb.
In addition to being fired upon, Israeli forces were attacked with explosives and stones, according to the IDF. The soldiers responded with live fire and riot dispersal measures, and several hits were identified.
The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that one person was killed and at least four wounded in the exchange, two seriously. The Palestinian Red Crescent identified the casualty as Egyptian citizen Bader Sami Rabhi, 19.
The Nablus battalion of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group, said its members were “fighting the occupation forces and groups of settlers who had stormed the area of Joseph’s Tomb,” British media reported.
Four terror suspects were arrested overnight in separate operations in Judea and Samaria, and weapons and ammunition were confiscated, according to the military. (I365N / VFI News)
“For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things.” – Isaiah 59:3
Herzog: Vilifying Israel Is Antisemitism: Vilification of Israel and denying Israel’s right to exist are antisemitism, President Isaac Herzog said to a joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday, July 19, honoring 75 years of Israeli Independence.
“I respect criticism, especially from friends, although one does not always have to accept it. But criticism of Israel must not cross the line into negation of the State of Israel’s right to exist. Questioning the Jewish people’s right to self-determination is not legitimate diplomacy, it is antisemitism.”
“Vilifying and attacking Jews, whether in Israel, in the United States, or anywhere in the world is antisemitism,” Herzog said. “Antisemitism is a disgrace in every form, and I commend President Joe Biden for laying out the United States’ first ever National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism.”
Herzog’s remarks came the day after Congress passed a resolution affirming US support for Israel and calling it a democratic ally, as well as condemning antisemitism.
Herzog later added that “as president of Israel, I am here to tell the American people, and each of you, that I have great confidence in Israeli democracy. Although we are working through some issues, just like you, I know our democracy is strong and resilient. Israel has democracy in its DNA.”
He also thanked Congress for supporting Israel throughout its history, and said the US-Israel relationship is a “two-way alliance, in which Israel has been making critical contributions to the national security and interests of the United States in numerous ways.” (JPost /VFI News)
“God, we thank You for helping us defend and pursue Israel’s causes worldwide. We are especially grateful for our American allies that defend our sovereignty, the rights of Israeli people, and help combat antisemitism.”
Moroccan King Invites Netanyahu to Rabat: King Muhammad VI of Morocco has invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with him in Rabat. The invitation in a personal letter came on Wednesday, July 19, two days after Israel recognized Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara and said it may open a consulate in the city of Dakhla.
“The visit will open new opportunities to strengthen the relations between our countries,” the King wrote. Netanyahu’s office said he would like the visit to take place “soon.”
The US recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the territory, in conjunction with Rabat’s establishment of ties with Jerusalem. Only 28 countries have consulates in Western Sahara.
The invitation from King Muhammad VI came just as President Isaac Herzog met with the Congressional Abraham Accords caucus immediately after his address to both houses of Congress. Herzog met with senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), James Lankford (R-OK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5), Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Ann Wagner (D-MO-2), and David Trone (D-MD-6).
Rosen, a founding caucus member, said that the countries cooperate “on tourism, trade, education, health care, energy, regional security. These are the kinds of people-to-people things that make a difference.”
The senator also said that Herzog’s speech before Congress was “beautiful.” “I think he addressed all the issues and thinking about where we’re going to go in the future. I think it was inspiring and hopeful, and I feel very good about what he said,“ she added. (JPost /VFI News)
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17
Iraq: Protesters Set Swedish Embassy in Baghdad on Fire: Hundreds of protesters stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad in the early hours of Thursday morning, July 20, and set it on fire, British media reported. A source who spoke to the media outlet said no embassy staff had been harmed and declined to elaborate further.
Swedish embassy officials in Baghdad did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The protest was called by supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr ahead of an expected burning of a Quran in Sweden.
A series of videos posted by a popular Telegram channel that supports Sadr, showed people gathering around the embassy around 1:00 a.m. local time on Thursday and storming the embassy complex around an hour later. Later videos showed smoke rising from a building in the embassy complex.
Past incidents of Quran burnings in Sweden caused an uproar in the Muslim world, including an incident last month in which an Iraqi citizen living in Sweden, 37-year-old Salwan Momika, stomped on the Muslim holy book and set several pages alight.
Swedish police had granted him a permit in line with free-speech protections, but authorities later also said they had opened an investigation over “agitation”. Sweden’s government later condemned the Quran burning and called it an “Islamophobic” act. (INN / VFI News)
Where Are Jerusalem’s Jews, Arabs Living Together?: Two recent surveys published by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research (JIPR) show some intriguing changes and trends in the behavior among the city’s various sectors, as well as shifts in residential areas.
While the surveys, based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, find that the number of Palestinians who choose to live in Jewish neighborhoods (mainly for improving housing conditions) is increasing and currently stands at 12,000 people (at least), the number of Jews who moved – mainly for ideological reasons – to live in crowded Muslim population areas is about 4,000 to 5,000.
For years, neighborhoods in Jerusalem were divided separately between Jews and Arabs; but sources in local political circles estimate that this new reality might encourage more Palestinians to take part in the upcoming municipal elections.
“They move to Jewish neighborhoods to find better conditions, but living surrounded by Jews may also have some impact on their attitude toward these elections,” says a source, who adds, “being away from the Palestinians activist groups – Hamas or Fatah – can help these residents to feel less concerned about their “Israelization” process.
Two case studies involving areas in Jerusalem where Jews and Palestinians work and play alongside each other are the Mamilla Mall on the east-west Jerusalem seamline, and Liberty Bell Park, a park in west Jerusalem. (JPost / VFI News)
“But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” – Psalm 37:11
The suggestions, opinions, and scripture references made by VFI News writers and editors are based on the best information received.