From Our Columnists

Israel's Divided Government, the Palestinians, and the US
The November 2022 elections in Israel gave the present coalition a clear majority of 64 out of 120 members of the Knesset. The coalition intended to produce a government with a firm rightwing ideological orientation. At long last, Likud party loyalists cheered, we don’t need to compromise with centrist or left-leaning partners.  >>  Insight from […]
Mike McCaul’s Hard Line on the Afghanistan Papers
Everyone recognizes that America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 was a chaotic mess. Even the Biden administration, in a National Security Council document released on April 6, acknowledges the civilian evacuation from Kabul should have been carried out sooner. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Mike McCaul (Republican of Texas) has been adamant that the administration come […]
The Roots of Israel’s Judicial Reform Proposal
A bitter debate has now engulfed Israeli society over the proper role of the judiciary. The new government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, began its term in January by introducing far-reaching reforms to the judiciary, which I have already described in detail. The continuing strong reaction to these proposals, well described by my JST […]
The Leaderless Protest Movement in Israel
Since December 2022, every Saturday evening after Shabbat, tens of thousands of Israelis have demonstrated against the judicial reform proposals of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government. Former generals and judges, economists, journalists, hi-tech professionals, medical workers, shopkeepers, young students and their grandparents who fought in the War of Independence, native-born Israelis and recent immigrants, and Arab […]
Netanyahu Is Playing With American Fire
As Israel’s finance minister from 2003–2005 and later as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu was the father of Israel’s economic miracle that transformed a stagnant socialist economy into a thriving “start-up nation.” Today, however, Netanyahu is on a path toward wrecking what was one of his crowning achievements. His government’s proposed judicial reforms have begun to […]
The Largest Ever US–Israel Military Exercise
In the last week of January, the US and Israel conducted the largest joint military exercise between the two countries, codenamed “Juniper Oak,” marking a milestone in the evolving cooperation between Israel and the US Central Command (CENTCOM). To those familiar with the bureaucratic handling of US–Israel military cooperation, this all seems incredible. When the […]
The Good Fight of Adina Bar-Shalom
No Woman No Cry Recently, in the ongoing nightly saga of Israel’s domestic politics, the Israeli Supreme Court disqualified Aryeh Deri, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas political party, from holding ministerial office. Suddenly some of his supporters suggested an unusual idea. Perhaps his wife, Yaffa, could be appointed instead. At that dramatic moment, if […]
The Battle Over Israel’s Judicial Reforms
The debate in Israel is generating a lot of heat on partisan lines, but little light. Opponents of the new government’s proposals see them stripping the judiciary of its independence and thus striking a blow to the country’s democracy. Proponents see these proposals as long overdue reforms to restrain judicial activism and bring Israel’s judiciary […]
Restraint as a US Foreign Policy Strategy and the Future of the US–Israel Relationship:
An Exchange of Views
Steve, Our friendship goes back to graduate school days at Princeton and continued throughout our careers in US government service. We have moved in opposite directions politically—you to center-left and me to center-right—though we probably still agree on a lot. Let’s explore two issues—the general issue of whether or not the US needs to retrench […]
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