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THE WEEK AHEAD: Actress Helen Mirren premieres as Golda Meir, Israeli diplomats to pledge loyalty to the state and judicial reform moves ahead

Here are the stories we are watching...

Helen Mirren acting as former-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. (Photo: Jasper Wolf)
  • West Bank tensions

  • Jerusalem Film Festival

  • Pledge of loyalty

  • Judicial reform

  • Selective enforcement



Israel is reeling from a tense week of clashes, including the murder of an Israeli in the West Bank and a terror attack in Tel Aviv, where at least eight people were wounded, including a pregnant woman whose embryo did not survive.

Israel Defense Forces completed the counter-terrorism Operation Home and Garden in Jenin, considered the largest military action in the city in two decades. Overall, 12 Palestinian terrorists were eliminated and one IDF soldier was killed during the heavy fighting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the forces for eliminating “many terrorist infrastructures" and preventing more attacks from the Palestinian terror hub. Netanyahu added that the IDF will continue to operate against the terror network in Jenin in the future. Palestinian terror groups in Jenin celebrated a “victory” in the operation as their own achievement.  


Jerusalem will host its annual traditional film festival starting Thursday, July 13, and over the course of the next three weeks. The 40th edition of the festival will open with the biographical film “Golda” starring Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren as Israel’s iconic Prime Minister Golda Meir. Mirren will attend the premiere alongside Guy Nativ, the Israeli filmmaker who directed the American-British drama.

The film zooms in on Meir’s life during the turbulent period of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Aside from Mirren, the stellar cast includes Liev Schreiber as U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Overall, more than 200 films will be screened from 50 countries, including Israeli premieres, alongside the year’s best selection of international films from the Berlinale, Cannes, Venice and Sundance festivals. French film and Cannes winner ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ is set to close the annual festival on August 23.


Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen introduced a draft bill that requires diplomats or consular service providers abroad to pledge loyalty to the State of Israel. The bill is expected to get the Knesset’s final approval this week. Once the bill passes, diplomats will have to state: "I pledge loyalty to the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state."

The minister said that anyone who doesn’t recognize the pledge cannot serve as an ambassador. Cohen’s draft proposal explains that the loyalty pledge is necessary since a diplomat is “the official and senior representative of the government in a foreign country” and that the envoy’s position is the “responsibility and obligation to represent the government’s policies, be them in internal or foreign affairs.”


The Israeli government is planning to move ahead with passing clauses of the judicial reform without broad consensus. This comes after the failure of weeks-long talks with the opposition. The coalition hopes to pass the “reasonableness standard bill” in a Knesset vote this week, once it receives the green light from the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

The current “reasonableness” consideration allows the court to rule that certain government actions or decisions are void due to “being unreasonable in the extreme.” The new legislation would prevent the application of this standard in a court judgment. The right-wing coalition stresses that this standard has been too subjective, allowing the country’s High Court to annul government decisions over the years. Another controversial clause of the reform that is allegedly still on the table is the “override clause.” If passed, it would enable the Knesset to overturn Supreme Court decisions.


Protests against the reform continue to take place for 27 weeks now and do not seem to be letting up. On the contrary, last week protesters disrupted operations at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv and blocked major highways in the city on a busy weekday. Right-wing lawmakers and Israelis who support the judicial reform have been repeatedly accusing law enforcement entities of “selective enforcement.” They claim the police and the courts treat anti-government protesters who disrupt public order with gloves, as they apply double standards compared to how they treat of other sectors of the population. The government is expected to discuss the issue in its Sunday morning cabinet meeting.  

This week we are also keeping an eye on these developing stories:

  • … While Democrats attack the U.S. Supreme Court, the political right in Israel is pushing to overhaul it – Are those trends similar?

  •  … How is the northern West Bank Palestinian town of Jenin tied to billions of dollars to finance terrorism?


The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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