The Knesset passed the Law to Cancel the Reasonableness Standard 64-0 on July 24, with the opposition boycotting the vote. “We are now heading to a long recess,” said Justice Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), the architect of the government’s judicial reform package. “I am setting out, knowing that we passed an important bill, but with no gloating and with a true wish to bring all parts of the nation together.” On the other side of the aisle, opposition leader Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) said: “This is not a victory for the coalition; it is a defeat for Israeli democracy.” Several Likud MKs, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Agricultural Minister Avi Dichter, Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel, and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Yuli Edelstein, voiced their views in support of pursuing further judicial reforms only if there is broad consensus.
Chen Amir, 42, a Tel Aviv municipal security guard who was married with three daughters, was fatally wounded as he helped thwart a terrorist attack at the Nahalat Binyamin pedestrian mall on August 5. The Sourasky Medical Center, where he died, said his action on the scene “saved many lives.” A second patrol officer killed the terrorist, Kamal Abu Ahmed, 22, from Jenin. A day earlier, a 19-year-old Palestinian Kosai Matan, was killed in a clash with Israeli settlers near the West Bank town of Burka. Two settlers were arrested. On August 1, six Israelis were wounded when a terrorist opened fire in a plaza outside a mall in Ma’aleh Adumim. The terrorist, Muhannad al-Mazara’a, 20, who had a permit to work as a cleaner, was shot dead by an off-duty officer while attempting to flee the scene. One of the victims, a man aged 41, was listed in serious condition, while fours were in moderate condition.
Israel is going ahead with the construction of a NIS 100 billion high-speed rail plan called the One Israel Project, which will connect the whole country from Kiryat Shmona in the North to Eilat in the South. It may in the future also provide an overland connection to Saudi Arabia, with which Israel wants to establish diplomatic ties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a news conference with Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at Jerusalem’s Orient Hotel on July 30. 2023. “My vision is for every Israeli citizen to be able to travel to or from the center from anywhere in the country in less than two hours,” he said.
Israel sent a rescue team to help put out the massive fires raging across Greece at the end of July, with planes dropping substantial quantities of water in close coordination with Greek authorities. “Our primary focus was to suppress the fires, preventing further outbreaks, and despite challenging weather conditions we achieved our goal,” said Superintendent Haim Bar-Gil of the Israel Police Air Division, who served as the mission commander.
Israel and Vietnam signed a free trade agreement in Jerusalem on July 25. The signing ceremony between Economy and Industry Minister Nir Barkat and his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Hong Dien, took place in the presence of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang. Both parties said that a free trade agreement would significantly boost trade between the countries.
David “Dugo” Leitner, the Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who began a tradition of eating falafel every January 18 to mark the 1945 Auschwitz Death March, died on Tisha Be’av (July 26) at the age of 94. As Leah Abramowitz wrote in her article about him in The Jerusalem Report in 2021, one of the first stops that Dugo made after his arrival in Israel in 1949 was the Mahaneh Yehuda market, where for the first time he saw brown balls bubbling in hot oil, which he took to be his mother’s promise of the bilkalach that awaited him in Eretz Yisrael. He learned they were called falafel and tasted heavenly. Every year since, he went to the closest falafel stand and ate a falafel to commemorate his survival, sometimes holding a sign reading, “Am Yisrael Hai” (The Nation of Israel Lives).
A half-shekel silver coin containing the words “Holy Jerusalem” in ancient Hebrew script from the first year of the First Jewish Revolt against the Romans was uncovered in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve on the eve of Tisha Be’av. The coin, dating back to 66/67 CE when the Second Temple was destroyed in Jerusalem, was found in the Judean Desert Survey led by the Israel Antiquities Authority, together with the Heritage Ministry and the Civil Administration Archaeology Unit. “After two millennia, we have returned to our country, and holy Jerusalem is again our capital,” said Israel Antiquities Authority director Eli Escusido. “The find of the coin at these times is a reminder for us of what happened in the past, teaching us the importance of working towards unity.”