Schlaglicht Number 10/24, Latest News from the Israeli Press, May 16-31, 2024

"Schlaglicht Israel" offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.


⇒Download the latest Publication of “Schlaglicht Israel”!

Main topics covered in this Publication:

  1. Chief Prosecutor of the IstGH Applies for Arrest Warrants Against Netanyahu and Gallant
  2. War in the Gaza Strip
  3. Ireland and Spain Recognise the State of Palestine
  4. Other Topics


1. Chief Prosecutor of the IstGH Applies for Arrest Warrants Against Netanyahu and Gallant

ICC in the service of terror, axis of evil

(…) the international law has never before become a slave to the axis of evil and to terror, until now. A terror organization that openly announces its aim to destroy Israel, murder Jews and Christians and dominate the world, a terror group that launched the worse murderous attack on Jews since the Holocaust, a terror force whose leaders say they will continue that murder, is equated to a country defending itself against the murderous organization out to destroy it.  (…) When the United States killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese, when Tokyo was bombed, who was to blame? The U.S.? Japan? When the UK bombed Dresden and Hamburg during WWII, who was to blame? Hitler or Churchill? (…) There is no shortage of reasons to criticize Israel's leaders such as the outrageous statements about cutting off water supplies, stopping food delivery, claims that 'there are no innocent Gazans," and much more. (…) The IDF (…) should have instructed soldiers in how to conduct themselves in the Strip and the IDF should also have made public the legal actions taken against troops who were in violation of the law.  The complementarity principle in international law prevents the intervention of the ICC in such investigations. There were violations. No war against evil can have none. But the IDF commits fewer such violations than any other Western military. (…) we are now paying not only for the world's hypocrisy but also for our own stupidity.

Ben-Dror Yemini, YED, 21.05.24


In Condemning the ICC's Arrest Warrants, Israeli Lawmakers Fell into Netanyahu's Trap

The statement signed by all members of the Knesset (…), condemning the request by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, is a classic domestic political move by Netanyahu: turning lemons into limoncello. Netanyahu took a grave foreign relations development (…) and turned it into a demonstration of support for the government under his leadership. (…) Netanyahu's lexicon contains concepts such as victory and decisive result, but the definitions omit their price. He does not mention the connection between the lack of a plan for bringing home the hostages and the deaths of many in captivity. Nor does he mention the enormous losses the plan of Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir will involve, the severe damage to the economy, the tens of thousands of evacuees from the north and south with no date set for their return, and the heavy price that is and will be paid by military reservists, who will be forced to devote long months of their lives to the defense of the country while he exempts the Haredim from the draft. (…) he expects total consent on the petition against the action that could prevent him from traveling abroad as a free man. This seems to concern him more than any other issue, including returning the hostages, returning the evacuees to their homes and reining in the insane ideas of military rule in Gaza and a security zone in Lebanon. The gravity of the situation is an insurance policy for his continued rule, but it harms the country. His opponents, from Yair Lapid to Avigdor Lieberman to Benny Gantz, understand this, yet they still keep falling into the trap he sets for them.

Sami Peretz, HAA, 22.05.24


ICC’s (Not so) shocking bias against Israel

It is outrageous that the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, has issued arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. These allegations, which include crimes against humanity and several apparent war crimes, definitely lack substantial evidence and seem to be politically motivated. (…) It is clear that the ICC’s actions are biased, unfair, and detrimental to security and stability in an already flimsy region. (…) The IDF are known for their stringent operational protocols designed to minimize civilian casualties, even when confronting adversaries who disregard the Laws of war. (…) Each military operation is meticulously planned to minimize civilian damage. Measures such as warnings and precision strikes are fundamental to their efforts to protect civilians, even as Hamas employs tactics that blatantly contravene international norms, such as using civilian infrastructure for military purposes. Israel’s military operations are conducted in accordance with the principles of proportionality and necessity. (…) The IDF’s actions are commensurate with the threats faced, aimed at neutralizing Hamas’s military capabilities, and preventing the possibility of any future attacks. Nonetheless, it is concerning that the ICC appears to overlook these circumstances, perpetuating a narrative that unfairly vilifies Israel while minimizing or excusing the atrocities committed by Hamas. By equating Israel’s defensive measures with the actions of Hamas, an internationally designated terrorist organization, the ICC shows a troubling lack of impartiality. (…) Since its inception, the ICC has faced accusations of bias and being used as a political tool. This case against Israel is merely the latest example of how the ICC can be perceived as aligning with certain political agendas rather than seeking impartial justice. (…)

Ilan Eichner, TOI, 22.05.24


A man-made famine is a war crime!

The accusations against Israel include the use of starvation as a weapon against the Palestinian population in Gaza. According to the ICC’s indictment, this strategy has led to malnutrition, dehydration and an increasing number of deaths among innocent civilians, including infants and children. It is completely and utterly inhumane and unacceptable if it has happened. A man-made famine is a war crime because it affects the innocent. A request for an arrest warrant for Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, has come very late. (…) The international community must stand firm and ensure that justice is done, regardless of which nation is behind the crimes. (…) When states, regardless of their power or political system, commit acts that cause massive suffering, they must be held accountable. (…) Justice and equality before the law must apply without exception. (…)

Palle Veje Rasmussen, TOI, 22.05.24


In the eye of the storm: How will the ICC warrants affect Israel?

 (…) One of the problems in this case is the lack of distinction between Israel and Hamas. (…) to compare Israel and its military response to Hamas’s attacks of October 7 is absurd and downright dangerous. What kind of a precedent does it set in international law (…) The issuance of arrest warrants could further isolate Israel on the global stage, putting it in the same category as countries with leaders accused of severe human rights violations. This stigmatization can harm Israel’s diplomatic relationships. Countries that are parties to the Rome Statute might face pressure to arrest Israeli leaders if they travel abroad, leading to strained bilateral relations and potential diplomatic crises. Having arrest warrants out for the sitting prime minister and defense minister can create internal political instability, affecting the government’s ability to address domestic and international issues effectively. The legitimacy and moral standing of the Israeli leadership also seems certain to be questioned both at home and abroad. The arrest warrants could also lead to calls for economic sanctions or boycotts against Israel, which would harm the economy. (…)

Editorial, JPO, 22.05.24


Israel Must Comply With The Hague's Ruling

In contrast to the consistent delegitimization campaign waged by Israel's government against international law and its institutions, (…) the International Court of Justice has proved in its decision (…) that it is a legitimate and judicious organization. (…) The judges determined that Israel's actions aimed at evacuating civilians and other steps it has taken have been insufficient. The 800,000 Gazans who moved from Rafah to the al-Mawasi area are living, according to the court, in unbearable conditions, with no dwellings, water, food, sanitation or medical services. The court ruled that if Israel wants to continue fighting while evacuating civilians, it must ensure that these people can sustain life in areas they are moved to. (…) The fact that Israel is fighting a terror organization with no red lines cannot justify everything Israel does in response. The judges expressed their grave concern for the fate of the hostages, calling for their immediate release, but they didn't condition the implementation of their ruling on it. Despite the enormous and justified frustration over Hamas' kidnapping civilians, (…) Israel cannot act in the same manner. It must abide by the court's ruling. The bottom line in The Hague was that it is permitted to fight Hamas, but not kill indiscriminately, expel and annex. Israel must respect international courts and supra-national institutions so that it doesn't become a non-legitimate state. It must desist from its campaign of delegitimizing the court in The Hague and abide by its rulings.

Editorial, HAA, 26.05.24


2. War in the Gaza Strip

Sinwar and Nasrallah can relax: Netanyahu wants a complete victory, but not over them

(…) The havoc that Netanyahu has wreaked on Israel in all areas is incomprehensible and unprecedented. He has dismantled the social fabric, the unity of the country, the Israeli brotherhood. He has ruined the economy. (…) He has turned Israel into a leper colony. He destroyed the deterrence. (…) He clings to the reins of power, and he drags the entire country down to the abyss. (…) what's the problem with absolute victory? (…) It doesn't exist. Illusion. Delusion. (…) It took months and years to defeat terrorist cities like Mosul, Raqqa, Fallujah, and others. Cities that are much smaller than Gaza. Cities run by terrorists are less dangerous, less skilled, less fortified than Gaza. Against them stood a tremendous international coalition led by the United States, with full legitimacy, with endless resources, intelligence, technology, and manpower. And still, it took ages. And even after it ended, it didn't end. (…) Even after the enemy is defeated, the embers continue to hiss, the weeds continue to sprout, constant work is required. What Netanyahu did with his "absolute victory" slogan is build expectations (…). He's been doing this his whole career. But this time it's deadly. it's dangerous. It's existential. (…) soldiers continue to fall. In the south and also in the north. (…) When the time comes, we will need to hold all those responsible (…) accountable for the gradual erosion of the military over generations. Meanwhile, the solution is to raise the retirement age from reserves sharply, extend regular service significantly, and increase the number of annual reserve duty days for soldiers and officers. In other words: increasing the burden on those who have carried it for 76 years. (…) Where will we get the money? (…) When we get to the bridge, we'll cross it. Statistics prove that Netanyahu will pull off some brilliant maneuver again when the time comes.

Ben Caspit, JPO, 18.05.24


The IDF needs to fully enter Rafah with its divisions and finish the job

(…) Israel very recently decided to put aside plans for a major offensive in Rafah, and will act in a more limited manner, after discussions with the US on the matter. (…) Israel is now in line with Washington’s concerns and the new plans have been indicated as “initially satisfactory.” (…) The Biden administration has been trying to hold back Israel’s effort to eradicate Hamas since the very beginning of the Gaza campaign and, despite all the political and media noise about the “humanitarian issue,” it appears quite clear that the real issue is the Biden administration’s relations with Qatar and Iran, the two main sponsors of Hamas. The withholding of weapons, already paid by Israel, for fear that they would be used in Rafah, and the deal-trap that emerged in early May, as planned by Egypt and Hamas, with no warning by the Biden administration despite being aware of it, are clear actions, and we all know that actions count much more than words do. (…) Biden’s foreign policy objectives in the Middle East are not in line with Israel’s need for security, which implies the eradication of Hamas and the neutralization of the Iranian threat. (…) One thing needs to be clear, Hamas will never release the remaining hostages because it’s the only leverage the terrorist organization has, and this situation would only extend in time, to the advantage of Hamas. Therefore, the “pressure for negotiations” mantra is nonsense and it should have been clear by now. The IDF must go into Rafah and “finish the job” with the Hamas leadership and the remaining units. This can only be done by sending in the divisions. (…) The last thing Israel needs is a long attrition war like the one in Ukraine, and this is the direction we are currently seeing, unfortunately.

Giovanni Giacalone, TOI, 22.05.24


Israel Should Proceed With Its Offensive In Rafah

Israel is doing what it absolutely must in Rafah, Hamas’ last urban bastion. Despite a ruling by the International Court of Justice (…), Israel is pushing ahead with its plan to capture much or all of Rafah. Israel has every moral and political right to defend itself and ensure that an attack on the scale of October 7 never occurs again. (…) If Israel abides by the ICJ order, Hamas would be more than pleased. It would allow Hamas to survive after nearly eight months of war. This cannot be allowed to happen. Israel has important tasks to complete in Rafah. It must degrade or smash four Hamas battalions, destroy a maze of tunnels, seize weapons storage facilities, and obliterate an array of rocket launchers. (…) Israel must also secure the porous Philadelphi corridor, which forms the border between Egypt and Gaza and through which Hamas has smuggled weapons and munitions into Gaza from the Sinai Peninsula. If these key objectives are achieved, Israel will be one step closer to eliminating Hamas as Gaza’s governing authority and will be able to switch to lower-intensity raids. (…) Israel has a duty and a responsibility to ensure that Gaza is irrevocably purged of Hamas power once and for all.

Sheldon Kirshner, TOI, 25.05.24


Netanyahu, Take Note: Bombing Innocents in Rafah Will Only Grant Hamas a 'Total Victory'

There are at least 45 dead and scores of wounded from the Air Force's attack on Rafah (…), for the sake of killing two Hamas members. The operation, the army said, was a success, one beyond expectations. We eliminated them, their neighbors and, according to news reports, their neighbors' children, too. If the reports are correct, the 45 men, women and children who were victims of the strike, were sheltering in an area that Israel had declared a safe zone and said that there was no reason for occupants to flee it. They died after their tents had caught fire. (…) The tragedy is the kind anyone with eyes could have predicted. (…) nobody on our side dared to even address the disaster after the fact, because it isn't politically correct to talk about Palestinian blood, most certainly not the blood of Gazans and most certainly not after the October 7 massacre. (…) Bombing little children to death in a designated safe zone a minute and a half before The Hague is about to take up a case involving you is not exactly a sure-fire recipe for defeating Hamas. If anything, this is the perfect way to destroy the dwindling remnants of international legitimacy for the continuation of the war effort. (…) There will be no total victory. (…) We are drawing near to the last of our international credit, running on gasoline fumes. Disasters like this (…) bring us closer to (…) a cease-fire with the hostages trapped in Gaza and Israel poorer and weaker, surrounded by enemies. (…)

Zehava Galon, HAA, 28.05.24


Is continuing to fight in Rafah worth it?

The military incursion into Rafah must be stopped. (…) There were two reasonable times for an attack on Rafah: one at the start of the ground operation, the second before or simultaneously with the attack on Rafah: one at the start of the ground operation, the second before or simultaneously with the attack on Khan Younis. (…) It made sense to push Hamas away from the Egyptian border and destroy the tunnels between Gaza and Sinai, under the Philadelphi Route. Blocking the smuggling routes, at least some, would have made it difficult for Hamas to receive supplies. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on turning Rafah into a victory shot instead of focusing on the strategic route. According to the military, this is folly. (…) Dismantling the four remaining battalions there will finish the job but not eliminate Hamas' capability to launch rockets at Israel, kill soldiers and continue to hold hostages. (…) No one in the political echelon dares to say what retired generals openly say: it's time to stop, to reach a hostage deal, to calm the north, and start rebuilding the country. Fear of public backlash silences them. (…) Meanwhile, government officials are spreading half-truths again about the resumption of the hostage negotiations. The Mossad chief traveled and returned, but no deal in sight. Each side is blaming the other; Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is in no rush, and neither is Netanyahu. Thousands demonstrated on Saturday in Tel Aviv. The masses feel sorrow and anger, despair and anxiety. The protests will intensify in the coming weeks.

Nahum Barnea, YED, 26.05.24


Israel's Rafah Operation Now Depends on U.S. Response to Killing of Dozens

There has been a yawning gap between the reaction in Israel and the world on reports of mass-casualty incidents in Gaza. (…) According to the IDF, the air force dropped two precision aerial bombs each weighing 17 kilograms (…). The targets were two senior Hamas operatives from the organization's "West Bank headquarters," who were indeed killed in the strike. The IDF believes that the air force's bombs hit a Palestinian arms depot, which caused a fire that then caused the deaths of dozens of displaced civilians in an adjacent tent encampment. (…) The two mass-casualty incidents occurred just days after the International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered Israel to halt its military offensive in Rafah if the level of civilian casualties continued to be high. The U.S., which has relaxed its opposition to a Rafah operation over the past several weeks, has taken much the same stance. And yet, when the world's eyes are trained on Rafah and Israel needs to be extra careful, two such incidents occur in less than two days. This was certainly not done on purpose, but it indicates the difficulty of fighting in a dense urban environment while meeting American expectations. (…) it seems, a confluence of potential threats to the Netanyahu government is emerging – Washington's reservations, the two Hague courts' involvement (…) and the risk that the United Nations Security Council will discuss a cessation of hostilities and whether the United States will veto it. Against that, there is an alternative scenario: A U.S.-Saudi deal that could include normalization between Jerusalem and Riyadh, with (perhaps) a side deal on the hostages that brings an end to the Gaza war. (…)

Amos Harel, HAA, 29.05.24


In Netanyahu's Israel, the Rafah Horror Was Neither 'A Mishap' nor Exceptional

"A tragic mishap" is the euphemism that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to describe Sunday's horrific incident in which about 45 Palestinian refugee camp residents in Rafah were killed and dozens of others wounded (…). The atmosphere within the public over the fate of noncombatant Palestinians moves between apathy and joy over their deaths. Considering this amid a willful media blackout regarding the scope of death and destruction over the last eight months resulting in more than 34,000 dead Palestinians, which includes thousands of children and the elderly, Netanyahu discovered the terrible face of this "total victory" war. One can imagine that it wasn't deep sorrow or grief that caused him to view the deaths in Rafah as a tragedy but rather his recognizing the threat to his global freedom of movement after the arrest warrants requested by the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. These warrants require him to audibly demonstrate at the very least a modest measure of humanity. (…) the strike in Rafah and the death of an Egyptian soldier at the border crossing after clashing with Israeli forces, cannot be considered exceptional incidents only requiring an investigation and drawing lessons. They're an inseparable, expected and dangerous component of the war in Rafah (…). Now the release of the hostages is the only realistic national goal remaining for the Israeli government, and it cannot be conditioned on capturing Rafah, "defeating Hamas" or "eliminating the threat to Israeli Gaza border communities."

Editorial, HAA, 29.05.24


3. Ireland and Spain Recognise the State of Palestine

Why Ireland Is Recognizing the State of Palestine

(…) Together with Spain and Norway, Ireland has taken the decision this week to formally recognize the State of Palestine. Along with the vast majority of the international community, Ireland's core aim is the achievement of peace, security and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians alike, through a two-state solution that vindicates the right of self-determination for both people equally. We believe that there can be no sustainable solution to the current crisis without a clear, irreversible political pathway towards this solution. (…) to many Israeli ears, this sounds at best, naïve, and at worst, destructive and dangerous. It is neither. (…) Saying clearly that the desperate situation in Gaza is unacceptable does not diminish in any way the heinous crimes of Hamas on October 7. Rather, it points to a universal principle: all civilian lives are precious and all civilians, everywhere, deserve – and have the equal right under international humanitarian law – to protection. (…) Ireland's position is grounded in a deep commitment to international law and to the equal protection of all civilian lives. (…) Ireland is not under any illusion that recognition of a Palestinian state or full UN membership for Palestine will solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bring an end to terrorism and end the cycle of bitter violence. But we do believe that without a political solution that is acceptable to Israelis and Palestinians, and delivers on their equal right to peace, security and dignity, achieving these goals will be impossible. (…) As ambassador to Israel, I want to say clearly that Ireland takes this position not because we are hostile to Israel but because we desperately want to see – and contribute to – a future, where Israelis and Palestinians alike live in security and dignity. (…)

Sonya McGuinness, HAA, 22.05.24


The war in Gaza and the (real) road to peace

(…) Hamas has, in many respects, won, at least in the public opinion arena. No wonder so many around the world consider the 7th of October’s barbaric attack on Israel as a success. (…) on the very same day as the declaration by the three European states, a new horrifying video, documenting some glimpses of the 7th of October attack, has been released by families of hostages. The video shows the first moments of the capture of Israeli female soldiers by Hamas. (…) These moments documented in the video were only the beginning of the most brutal and cruelest attack Israel has ever suffered. (…) We can discuss justice, freedom, fairness. These are all important questions, but facing the pictures of the hostages, young and old, the only thing we should do is work as best we can and with all our powers, to get these people out of captivity. Once that will happen, the war will end, this way or the other – it will end. (…) Unfortunately, the decision made by Norway, Spain and Ireland leads us toward a very different path, one that is dominated by Hamas’s fundamentalist aspirations and not by peace. (…) Israel and the free world must protect themselves against the world and values that are presented and reflected by Hamas (…). Both sides bear blame for the current atrocities that started on October 7th. The continuous allegations levelled against Israel and Israel alone are not only wrong but harmful. (…)

Rhona Burns, TOI, 23.05.24


As the world turns against us

(…) The governments of Ireland, Norway, and Spain have taken the rare step of recognizing the state of Palestine. (…)

Recognizing the State of Palestine while Hamas is in power explicitly and literally empowers and legitimizes Hamas as a governing entity and clearly gives them a reward for their terror onslaught of October 7th. (…) The three governments (…) wanted to take action that might rescue Hamas from defeat and keep it in power in this new State of Palestine. (…)  the families of the almost 130 hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza released a 3.5-minute video taken by the Hamas terrorists themselves when they invaded Israel on October 7th and captured the young women manning a listening post on the border.  (…) While the video is heartbreaking and emotionally challenging the young women involved are inspiring.  These are young women about the same age as those demonstrating against Israel on college campuses worldwide.  Although painful to watch, and we are clearly not doing enough to free those who remain held in Gaza, the courage of these young women is palpable and speaks to their dedication to their country and their responsibilities.  (…) The young women we saw in that video, emblematic of our future, is what can make us optimistic and gives us hope in these troubling times.  May we be worthy to see that happen.

Sherwin Pomerantz, TOI, 23.05.24


Israel Cannot Boycott the Whole World - So It Must Listen Instead

Israel is at a historic crossroads. It faces two roads which have never been clearer, and it must choose one of them. The world has gone out of its way to depict the alternatives: One of the roads leads to a Palestinian state, with Israel saying yes to the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, to normalization of relations with the latter, to a military alliance, to ending the war and reaching a deal for getting the hostages back, with Gaza transferred to the Palestinian Authority. As a bonus, the legal proceedings in The Hague against Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant are suspended. The second road leads to The Hague. If Israel rejects the Saudi move it will abandon the hostages, the war will continue (…). Netanyahu and Gallant will become personae non grata around the world and Israel will be condemned as a criminal state, and begin a downward spiral. Israel's elites will leave, military service will be extended, the middle class will be shattered. Terror attacks will spread to the country's cities, the West Bank will burn, Jewish-Arab tensions will erupt, Kahanism will spread, armed militias will roam the streets, crime will surge, American Jews will turn their backs on Israel and the U.S. will lose its political interest in this country. (…) The countries now recognizing a Palestinian state are doing so out of loyalty to a two-state solution to the conflict. They are taking a step that undermines the wishes expressed in calls such as "from the river to the sea." This is the exact opposite of rewarding terror, since the terrorists want the entire country. Countries recognizing Palestine are for us. (…) Israel must listen to the world.

Carolina Landsmann, HAA, 24.05.24


It's ironic, but Netanyahu, Smotrich, and Ben-Gvir will be the founders of Palestine

(…) it is the ultra-right-wing coalition that is advancing the vision of a Palestinian state against their will. It seems that the radical slogan, “the situation must get really bad before it gets better,” has been proven correct in this case, ironically. Thus, the absolutely worst government that we have ever had (…) has brought about the recognition, throughout the entire world, that there is no alternative to the establishment of a Palestinian state. There is no other way to replace the Hamas in Gaza, to achieve normalization for Israel in the region, and to bring about regional and international stability. (…) Netanyahu, Smotrich, and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir have succeeded where Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Ehud Barak failed in showing the world how essential a viable Palestinian state is, not only as a response to the Palestinian aspiration for self-determination but more so: as the only possible option, to stabilize the region in terms of security and diplomacy. They showed very clearly, that a Palestinian state is not only a Palestinian goal but also a major Israeli interest. (…) The PA will not rush in to take control over Gaza, overflowing as it is with challenges, if it does not receive a solid commitment to promote a Palestinian state. Therefore, sooner or later, Israel will also understand that it has no way out of the problem, other than to create a partnership with the Palestinian state under formation. Smotrich and his partners in the right-wing government will have become – obviously against their will – the founders of the Palestinian nation as well. The more they have denied its existence, the more they strengthened it, turning it into the only viable solution to a problem that has been haunting us for the past 57 years of Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza. (…)

Nadav Tamir, JPO, 28.05.24


The US plan to establish a Palestinian state must be stopped

(…) While the State of Israel is fighting for its existence like sheep among a pack of wolves in the Middle East, the US administration, led by the president, chose at this time to impose a calamity on the State of Israel and called for the establishment of a Palestinian state. This foolish and outdated act is being pushed by the US as if the Palestinian terrorist state, established in Gaza at the initiative of Israel and with America’s blessing 19 years ago, did not explode in our faces. The establishment of a Palestinian state will mirror the Gaza model and bring the savages of Hamas and Fatah closer to our homes in Judea and Samaria (…). The establishment of a Palestinian state after the October 7 massacre by Hamas is an enormous danger to Israel’s existence and a moral disgrace. (…) Imagine if the US would recognize al-Qaeda’s sovereignty over Central Park following the 9/11 attacks, an idea that did not cross the minds of any Americans, yet this is the type of logic they are holding over Israel’s head. (…) More important than Israel receiving planes and bombs, the United States needs to be an active partner out of a sense of morality. (…) The political strangulation plan of the US administration that forces Israel to establish a Palestinian state must be stopped, and the weapon that has been pressed on the temple of the free world’s greatest friend in the Middle East must be lowered.

Israel Ganz, JPO, 29.05.24


4. Other Topics

Death of Iranian President Raisi

The death of Iran's most hated man

(…) Raisi was a hated figure in Iran. (…) Last year, a record number of executions were recorded in Iran’s prisons: over 400 men and 60 women. Each execution was personally approved by Raisi. (…) Raisi also had a long-standing vendetta against Iranian women. He intensified and enforced stricter hijab laws, reinstated the women of the "morality police" as informers, and sent hundreds of high school girls and prominent women to detention centers. On his personal recommendation, each detainee underwent an "entry stage," involving rape by the guards as part of their initiation into the detention center. In several cases, Raisi was an eyewitness. (…) Raisi's power and authority stemmed from his close relationship with the Supreme Leader. He not only shared Khamenei's extreme political views but also managed to bypass Khamenei's eldest son, Mojtaba, who aspired to succeed his father. (…) Raisi's death in the helicopter crash is primarily a moral blow that will pass quickly. A replacement will be found, and no genuine tears will be shed at his funeral once his body arrives in Tehran. The real intrigue lies in whether Khamenei will seek a carbon copy of Raisi – a conservative unhesitant in issuing death orders – or if, against all odds, this event will prompt him to consider a reformist capable of engaging with the frustrated youth of the conservative republic.

Smadar Perry, YED, 20.05.24


Death of Raisi doesn't signify Israel's defense establishment can sleep well at night

It’s a Jewish tradition to cherish life and mourn the dead. (…) We don’t revel in anybody’s death, but Raisi’s reign of terror and death was a stain on humanity, and if his demise means that one fewer person will suffer, so be it. (…) He questioned the integrity of the Holocaust (…) and he described Israel as a “false regime.” (…) Iran’s proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, that have been waging their battles against Israel on behalf of their cruel backer, issued statements of mourning over Raisi’s and his fellow Iranians’ deaths. (…) At the same time, social media was full of expatriate Iranians celebrating Raisi’s death and voicing hope that freedom-loving Iranians would be able to exploit the opportunity to overturn the yoke of oppression that has plagued the Iranian people since 1979. That likelihood is slim (…). Although Israel can take solace in the knowledge that one of its arch-enemies has met a fiery end, there are more than enough just like him to prevent the country’s defense establishment from sleeping well at night.

Editorial, JPO, 21.05.24


Dispute Over Conscription for Ultra-Orthodox Men

Netanyahu needs to make a proper decision on haredi draft

Just one day before the final deadline for the government to inform the High Court of Justice on its plans to draft military-age haredi men, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced (…) that he had decided to advance the haredi conscription law that initially passed its first reading during the Lapid-Bennett government. (…) Netanyahu is wasting time with this move. He is playing a game. On the one hand, the High Court will not be on his back about meeting the haredi draft bill deadline. On the other hand, he is attempting to prevent criticism from the government’s opponents by taking the previous government’s proposal – the government led by the Center and Left – and making it his own. It is simply a ploy to buy more time. The problem is that this proposal was always meant to be a temporary solution until something longer-term could be done to bring the haredi community into some form of national service, whether that be in Israel’s security forces or in some other way that serves the country’s needs – needs that are prominent now amid war – more than ever. (…) what is needed is a decision – a proper decision, with no room for more deliberations or cop-outs.

This is not the time for games. We are at war, and Israel needs its soldiers. (…)

Editorial, JPO, 16.05.24


How to Draft the ultra-Orthodox into Israel's Army Without Threatening Their Way of Life

(…) as Israel is embroiled in a war, an ultra-Orthodox public devout in its faith is facing off against another devout public – one concerned about the state's future. This is not good news. (…) extreme solutions must be rejected (…). The surrender to those who "fear" for their religion (…) would be met with the fury of those who "fear" for their state, which may be uncontrollable. As such, it is liable to fragment the people's army. The opposite approach, calling for exacting full "justice" from the refusers, is also impractical. (…) enlistment of the ultra-Orthodox can only be realized if it is done out of respect for Haredi cultural preferences (…) a two-fold approach is necessary: enactment of legislation that encourages but does not coerce enlistment, and creation of a demand within the Haredi community itself to enlist – in a way that fits its ethos. Legislation to encourage enlistment must steer clear of the language of sanctions and criminality. (…) Instead, legislation encouraging enlistment should speak the language of economics, according to a rationale that is consistent with any other discussion on budget items in the State of Israel. Torah study can be viewed as a "public good" that the state may choose to finance (…). The number of Haredi men who are registered as full-time Torah student after marriage – let's say, 22-year-olds – is about one-third of that age cohort. Therefore, the current state budget, which until recently funded (almost) all Haredi men as Torah students, is, to put it bluntly, a waste of public funds. Those who are not studying are not providing the hoped-for public good. (…) on the individual level, there is no reason for the state to grant benefits to Haredim who neither study Torah nor enlist. (…) The cumulative effect of withholding personal benefits, on the one hand, and yeshiva budget cuts, on the other, will not force enlistment, but it will create a very significant incentive for it, over time. (…)

Yedidia Stern, HAA, 31.05.24






HAA = Haaretz

YED = Yedioth Ahronoth / Ynetnews

JPO = Jerusalem Post

IHY = Israel HaYom

TOI = Times of Israel

GLO = Globes


Published: June 2024.



Dr. Ralf Melzer,

Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel



Susanne Knaul

Judith Stelmach


Homepage: israel.fes.de

Email: fes(at)fes.org.il

Contact Us

Israel Office

Tuval 40, Sapir Tower
Ramat Gan 5252247

+972 (0) 9 9514760
+972 (0) 9 9514764

General requests:

Meet the team

About us

Follow us on Facebook!

Follow us on Facebook!

To learn more about FES Israel and our most recent activities follow and like our Facebook Page. More

FES Israel on Youtube

FES Israel on Youtube

Get videos from our playlist us on the FES Israel Channel. More