THE WEEK AHEAD: Israel responds to terrorism but bans Jewish entry to Temple Mount, judicial reform talks intensify and Yom HaShoah
Here are the stories we are watching...
Judicial reform talks
‘Twelve Tribes’ concert
Independence Day preparations
NYC stands with Israel
This week should see enhanced security presence around Jerusalem and crowded locations across Israel. After a violent escalation on multiple fronts, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a scathing speech last week in which he warned the enemies of the Jewish state not to interpret the country’s internal disputes as weakness. “We are operating on all fronts against their assaults,” he said, calling up reserve border police units.
Netanyahu also reinstated Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to his position and announced a ban on the entry of Jews to the Temple Mount for the remaining days of Ramadan. While this has been the status-quo under previous governments, some people on the political right in Israel are outraged by the decision coming from the current government, which supposedly vowed to deliver a right-wing agenda.
Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who opposed the decision, called it a “serious mistake that may only escalate the situation.” Even though sources in the Israeli police have warned that recent clashes at the Temple Mount could spread to cities with mixed Arab and Jewish residents.
Muslim worshippers in Israel and around the world will celebrate the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr, which begins on Friday, April 21. The three-day long “festival of breaking the fast” concludes 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting by feasting among family and friends. A common greeting during Eid al-Fitr is “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Blessed Eid.”
JUDICIAL REFORM TALKS
Now that the holiday of Passover is over, teams of negotiators on behalf of the Israeli coalition and opposition are shifting to a higher gear in their attempt to solve the political crisis by reaching a broad compromise. The teams have been negotiating the different clauses that consist of the government’s controversial judicial reforms which moved hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets during the last 15 weeks.
Marathon discussions, facilitated by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, are expected to focus on the makeup of the Judicial Selection Committee that appoints judges to Israel’s Supreme Court. According to reports, National Unity party leader Benny Gantz, who has seen increasing support in the polls, has asked to conduct the negotiations going from “heavy” to “light” sticking points. The sides have agreed to discuss all clauses that appear in the reform and strive to reach an understanding on each one separately and altogether. This means that only a wide consensus on the reform in its entirety would be binding.
Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom HaShoah) will begin on the evening of Monday, April 17, with the traditional siren that will be heard throughout the country. Israelis will stop everything to remember the victims of Nazi atrocities, as they observe two minutes of solemn reflection. The national ceremony will include speeches of the president and prime minister, a prayer of the Chief Rabbi, as well as the lighting of six torches symbolizing the six million Jews murdered.
This year, the commemoration of the Holocaust is shadowed by a fierce public debate over Israeli school trips to Poland. These youth delegations have become a point of contention between the two countries in light of disagreements over Poland’s behavior during the war. A new agreement that was meant to amend the ties and renew the trips, has recently come under fire from critics, including the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. They say the deal whitewashes the role played by some Polish citizens in the murder of Jews. Meanwhile, chants to “kill the Jews” were prevalent at a pro-Palestinian rally in Berlin, Germany.
‘TWELVE TRIBES’ CONCERT
The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra will perform a series of three concerts to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel, scheduled to take place from April 18-28. The concert program includes the world première of Symphony No. 2, ‘The Twelve Tribes’, composed and conducted by Benjamin Yusupov.
'The Twelve Tribes' serves as a unifying work that emphasizes the roots of the Jewish people and emphasizes their strength as one nation. The composition incorporates the traditions of a dozen Jewish communities currently residing in Israel, which have been preserved over generations and brought to the country since its establishment.
INDEPENDENCE DAY PREPARATIONS
Israel is getting ready to celebrate its 75th anniversary next week and the national Yom Ha'atzmaut (Independence Day) ceremony is expected to be larger than ever. The traditional event, which signifies the transition from Memorial Day, takes place on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Its highlight moment is the lighting of 12 torches to symbolize the Twelve Tribes of Israel by people who have made an outstanding contribution to society. This year, the list of torchbearers will only be finalized this week, about 10 days before the ceremony, given the long list of over 1,600 potential candidates.
NYC STANDS WITH ISRAEL
A special event to honor Israeli victims of terror and combat anti-Semitism will take place in Manhattan on April 19 at the Park East Synagogue. Led by YATAR Israel, the event will feature the family of Esther Horgen, the Israeli mother of six who was tragically murdered in a terror attack in 2020. "It is important for us to remember those who have lost their lives and to honor their memories by continuing to fight for a safer and more peaceful future," said her husband, Benjamin Horgen.
This week we are also keeping an eye on these developing stories:
... Why does Israel’s debate over democracy present a valuable lesson for the Middle East?
... Which Israeli political party will actively seek the vote of Israeli Christian Zionists?
... Why, What For? Thoughts from the funeral of two young women killed in a terror attack
... Poll: Who would become Israel's prime minister if elections were to be held today?
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.