What is happening in Israel??

by | Feb 2, 2023 | What’s Happening

Renowned Israel Journalist Gil Hoffman to speak at Temple Israel

Sunday, February 12, 4 pm


After the fifth election in four years, Israeli politics is even more balagan than usual. There are 12 parties in the Knesset. Six are members of Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s ruling coalition. The new government has been described as the most right-wing in Israeli history. (Likud is the most moderate of the lot.) Netanyahu’s coalition has promised (among other things) to expand settlements on the West Bank, “reform” Israel’s Supreme Court (allow a simple majority of the Knesset to overrule Supreme Court decisions), and increase the power, authority, and income of the religious establishment.

Before he had a chance to make any progress on expanding settlements or increasing benefits for the ultra-religious, open hostilities broke out between Netanyahu and the Supreme Court. On January 18, less than three weeks after the new government was sworn in, the Supreme Court struck down the appointment of Shas leader Aryeh Deri as interior, health and rotating finance ministers. Shas is the second-largest party in Netanyahu’s coalition, and Deri is one of Netanyahu’s most important political allies. Shas declared that if Deri doesn’t serve as minister, they’ll withdraw from the coalition, thereby bringing down the government. Shas’ threat notwithstanding, Netanyahu fired Deri on January 22.

That’s a snapshot of ha matzsav in Givat Ram at press time.

What could possibly go wrong?

First is the possibility of the sixth election in four years. That, all by itself, could fairly be considered “gone wrong.” The good news is, only Israel could pull it off and still be a democracy. The bad news is, if there is a new election, it won’t be any prettier than the last one, and the outcome won’t be much different.

So, what else could go wrong? Can anything go right? How will the new government’s policies affect Israel’s relationship with the United States and with the American Jewish community? How will it affect “the peace process,” relations with the Arab world, and the Iranian nuclear theat. And that’s just right in the neighborhood.

If anyone can begin to answer these questions, it’s Gil Hoffman. He was chief political correspondent for the Jerusalem Post from 1998 to 2022. During that time he interviewed political and military leaders and covered 10 Knesset elections. In May of 2022 he was appointed executive director of Honest Reporting—an Israel-based NGO combating media disinformation about Israel and Zionism.

Hoffman was born and educated in the U.S., graduating magna cum laude from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. He brings to Honest Reporting nearly 25 years of experience as the leading English language political journalist in Israel.

At Temple Israel, Hoffman will go beyond the headlines and share his insights on the political whirlwind raging in Israel.

This program is presented by The Temple Israel Endowment Fund and Jewish Community Relations Council of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Simon Family JCC, & Community Partners’ 12th Annual Israel Today series.

Free and open to the community with RSVP required. For more information, or to register, visit JewishVa.org/israeltoday or contact Elka Mednick at emednick@ujft.org or 757-965-6112.

Mark Solberg