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A vote on the reasonableness bill in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem on July 24, 2023.
Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israel’s First Judicial Reform Bill Passes

After more than half a year of protests for and against the proposed judicial reforms in Israel, the Knesset this week passed a modified version of the first reform bill. The legislation bars judges from using "reasonableness" as a standard by which to assess laws that have been challenged in court.


The debate over the reforms in Israel has been emotional and complex. For examples of the arguments for and against the reforms, see this essay by Alex Traiman, CEO of JNS, and this essay by David Horovitz, the founding editor of The Times of Israel.


A news report from JNS on how Jewish American groups have responded to the reform bill’s passage quotes the Republican Jewish Coalition:

Sam Markstein, national political director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told JNS that the group joins David Friedman, the former US ambassador to Israel, in "hoping and praying that efforts continue—and succeed—to find a consensus."


"Like other Jewish Americans, Jewish Republicans have varying views about Israel’s difficult judicial reform debate," Markstein told JNS. "But we’ve been consistent in saying that Americans should respect Israel’s sovereign right to set its own course through its own democratic institutions."


412 Members of Congressstood up for Israel by voting for HConRes57, which stated simply:


The State of Israel is not a racist or apartheid state.


Let's say THANK YOU to them!


You can send your email message of thanks today by clicking the blue button and using our advocacy tool to share your thoughts with your representative.


It's important to acknowledge and encourage support of Israel in these difficult times. Take a moment today to say "Thanks!" It's an effective and easy way to show your representative that you care about Israel.



The flags of Iraq and Iran.

US Allows Iran to Sidestep Sanctions

The Biden administration continues to talk tough on Iran, while quietly allowing the mullahs’ regime to bring in billions of dollars in resources that will ultimately help fund its nuclear program and its support of terrorism.


Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a CNN news show last weekend that the US is no longer talking with Iranian officials about a nuclear agreement:

Blinken also said that US officials are “working across a whole series of lines of effort to push back on them, to make sure we have a strong deterrent, to make sure we have the appropriate pressure, and then to see if we get back to an opportunity where we can work on a nuclear deal.”

But at the same time, the US is allowing Iran to sidestep sanctions by importing Iraqi oil:

Iraq is set to start paying for Iranian gas imports with oil in order to avoid falling foul of US sanctions. Iraq is reliant on Iranian gas for a third of its energy needs, but is unable to directly pay for it as a result of US sanctions on Iran, forcing the country to resort to a complicated mechanism for transferring funds.

The US sanctions prohibit this kind of transaction. But Reuters reports on speculation that a US government waiver issued in March, which allowed Iraq to buy electricity from Iran (not natural gas), could be stretched to cover this kind of barter deal.

The former official said [the language used] could provide "enough wiggle room ... for the US to look the other way, but that is a political decision, that's not a legal question.


"As far as a strictly legal question, it absolutely does violate US sanctions," he added.

RJC members heard from Rep. Anthony D'Esposito (NY-04) at an event on Long Island this week.

RJC Hosts Rep. D’Esposito (NY-04) on Long Island

On Sunday, July 23, the Representative for New York’s 4th Congressional District, Anthony D’Esposito, joined over 50 members of the Lawrence Jewish community to discuss pressing issues of concern, including combating rising antisemitism, improving our economy, and supporting Israel. The Republican Jewish Coalition hosted Congressman D’Esposito at the home of RJC Board of Directors member Eliot and Marilyn Lauer.


"There’s a big difference between saying you’re pro-Israel, and governing as a pro-Israel Member of Congress," Rep. D’Esposito said, "After I returned from Israel with a bipartisan congressional delegation, celebrating the 75th anniversary of Israel’s independence, I was honored to accept appointments from Speaker Kevin McCarthy to a new parliamentary working group between the Knesset and the House of Representatives, as well as an appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I will utilize these positions to fight antisemitism in our district and across the country."

Rep. D'Esposito with event hosts Marilyn and Eliot Lauer.

Congressman D’Esposito also touched on his co-sponsorship of creating a special envoy to the historic Abraham Accords peace agreements: "This is another opportunity to continue, in the face of hate, efforts to build on peace in the Middle East."


Noting that NY-04 will be a highly competitive battleground district in 2024, Congressman D’Esposito sounded a confident note: "I have no doubt that we will win this seat. All politics is local. I have the windows down in my car, meeting voters and working every day to win."


Congressman D’Esposito serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Committee on House Administration. In addition, he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology.

You can support Rep. Anthony D’Esposito’s reelection by donating to his campaign through the RJC PAC.

Short Takes

Democrats lose prominent former NY assemblyman Dov Hikind

Longtime New York politico and unapologetic pro-Israel advocate Dov Hikind announced last week that he and his wife were registering as Republicans and teased a possible run for elected office.


Hikind in his decades in New York politics has frequently been described as a kingmaker for his influence among New York’s Orthodox Jewish electorate. The 48th Assembly District that he represented from 1983-2018 contains the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park, one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the world.


The lifelong Democrat said that the party no longer reflected his values.


"Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has become so radicalized," Hikind said alongside his wife Shani in a video posted on Twitter. "People who are moderates or conservative Democrats are not welcomed in the Democratic Party. Shani and I’ve had enough. The Democratic Party turns its back on its friends, like Israel, the Biden administration, right now in policy after policy. I’m just tired. I’ve had enough."

George and Alex Soros max out to Israel-hating congresswoman

George Soros and his son Alex sent maximum contributions to liberal Washington congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who has faced intense criticism from fellow Democrats in recent days for slandering Israel as a "racist state." Both Soroses sent Jayapal $6,600 in late June, the maximum amount an individual can give to a candidate in an election cycle… Just two weeks later, during a July 15 panel discussion, Jayapal assured Palestinian activists that she’s "been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state."

Iran arrests fourth American national, complicating potential prisoner swap

Iran has arrested and detained a fourth American national, creating an additional complication in negotiations for a US-Iran prisoner swap. Iran is also known to be holding two US permanent residents.

Find out who we are, what we do, and how YOU can get involved! Watch our new video and share it with your friends!




Today Jews around the world observe the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, the 9th of Av, Tisha b'Av. It is a day of fasting and mourning for the many disasters that have befallen the Jewish people on this day in history, including the destruction of the First and Second Temples. The graphic above shows a relief from the Arch of Titus in Rome. It depicts the looting of the Menorah and other items from the Second Temple by Roman soldiers nearly 2000 years ago.




GA: Book Event with Clay Travis
Meet radio host and author Clay Travis and hear about his new book, American Playbook: A Guide to Winning the Country Back from the Democrats. Signed books available with advance ticket purchase.





TX: Event with Rep. Morgan Luttrell (TX-08)
Join us for a conversation in Houston with Rep. Luttrell, a former US Navy officer serving his first term in Congress.




RJC offices are open! Contact information for our offices can be found on our website. Please visit us online for the latest RJC news, to see details of upcoming events, and to donate to the RJC. Read past editions of this newsletter here.

Republican Jewish Coalition
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