THE WEEK AHEAD: Israel examines earthquake readiness as its efforts to assist Turkey and Syria are underway, nationwide protests in Israel, and Nikki Haley set to launch her presidential bid for 2024
Here are the stories we are watching...
Nikki Haley announces run
Mortgage freeze bill
Egypt’s Petroleum Show
OurCrowd Global Summit
The Israeli parliament will convene an urgent discussion this week at a top-committee level to assess the country’s readiness for earthquakes. The meeting will take place in the wake the two deadly earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria, resulting in thousands of fatalities.
All Israeli government ministries and emergency agencies were invited to attend the meeting, which will examine the current state of buildings and “the readiness of the emergency agencies to deal with a crisis,” read a statement from the Knesset spokesperson.
Meanwhile, an Israeli delegation is still assisting Turkish authorities on the ground with relief and medical aid. The Jewish state has also sent humanitarian aid to neighboring Syria at the request of Russia, despite having no diplomatic ties with the hostile state to its north.
NIKKI HALEY ANNOUNCES RUN
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is expected to make an official announcement that she will seek the GOP nomination in 2024. Haley is to become the second Republican to join former U.S. President Donald Trump in the race. The event launching her presidential bid will take place in South Carolina on Feb. 15.
Haley is considered a close friend of the State of Israel, given her record of staunchly defending the Jewish state in the hostile UN environment. She led the U.S. withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council over its disproportionate amount of criticism toward Israel. In 2017, she famously said the U.S. will be “taking names” of the countries that voted to condemn the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
After five weeks of protests, heated debates on television and several attempts to reach a compromise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is about to make actual legislative progress on the judicial reform it has been pushing for. This week will see some of the most dramatic and controversial clauses in the reform put forward for their first reading in the Knesset plenum for a vote.
Meanwhile, the country is bracing for scaled-up protests, with some warning of a potential “Civil War.” Opponents of the reform – including opposition Knesset members – are calling for a general strike on Monday and a large protest outside of the parliament building in Jerusalem.
The showdown between the Israeli government and the nation's High Court does not end there. Taking things up a notch, the coalition has officially put forward the so-called “Deri Law,” which will be also be voted upon this week. The bill emphasizes that the High Court does not have the authority to intervene in the appointments of government ministers.
Last month, Netanyahu had to obey the court’s ruling against the appointment of Shas party leader Aryeh Deri as his deputy and, subsequently, was forced to dismiss him. The High Court called Deri’s appointment “extremely unreasonable,” due to his past conviction and a promise, as part of a plea deal, not to re-enter politics. If adopted, the newly-proposed law will enable Netanyahu to reinstate Deri.
MORTGAGE FREEZE BILL
In an attempt to mitigate the increase in prices amid inflation, the Knesset’s Finance Committee’s chairman, United Torah Judaism party's Moshe Gafni, is proposing a controversial move.
Gafni is expected to submit a legislation proposal this week that will freeze the impact of raising interest rates on mortgages for first-time home buyers. Gafni argues that his proposal is aimed at assisting the public with the dramatically high cost of living.
However, the governor of the Bank of Israel, Amir Yaron, is pushing back against the measure. Last week, Yaron said that Gafni’s bill, if passed, would violate the ‘market principles,’ adding: “It is important that the [housing] market operates freely.”
EGYPT’S PETROLEUM SHOW
Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Israel Katz will travel to Cairo this week to attend the annual Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS), along with 2,000 delegates from around the world. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will open the three-day strategic conference on Feb. 13.
The gathering is intended to propel dialogue on energy security and climate action through collaborative industry efforts. The discussion will revolve around geopolitical and global economies, energy transition and energy solutions and the next generation of oil, gas and energy ecosystems.
OURCROWD GLOBAL SUMMIT
The online global venture investing platform OurCrowd is celebrating 10 years since its establishment, convening its large annual investment summit in-person for the first time since 2020. The event is expected to draw 6,000 participants from over 70 countries to Jerusalem on Feb. 15. The gather, entitled, “Startups: Saving the Planet,” will address major issues such as climate change, food and water insecurity, health access and online security, among other issues. The speaker list includes Israeli President Isaac Herzog, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides and popular Fauda star, Lior Raz.
This week we are also keeping an eye on these developing stories:
... CIVIL WAR? Most Israelis expect violence – some, civil war – over judicial reform
... How is Israel helping Turkey and enemy-state Syria deal with the deadly earthquakes?
... How can a new Israeli-developed method provide an early warning for earthquakes?
... Is Jericho becoming a new center of Palestinian terrorism?
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.