World

Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

 

A looming vote in Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition is set to pass a law today that would limit the ways in which Israel’s Supreme Court can overrule the government. The plan has become a proxy for a broader emotional and even existential battle about the nature of the Israeli state, who controls it and who shapes its future.

 

The law would bar the court from using the contentious legal standard of “reasonableness” to block government decisions. The government says the change would enhance democracy by making elected lawmakers freer to enact what voters chose them to do. The opposition insists it would remove a key check on government overreach, paving the way for the governing coalition — the most conservative and nationalist in Israel’s history — to create a more authoritarian and less pluralist society.

The dispute reflects a painful schism in Israeli society about how to maintain Israel’s self-image as a Jewish and democratic state. President Biden has cautioned Netanyahu against pursuing the plan.

 

Months of mass protest: On Saturday, tens of thousands of demonstrators who oppose the legislation marched on Jerusalem, some of them having walked for days to get there. More than 10,000 military reservists, among them the backbone of Israel’s flying corps, have threatened to resign from duty, raising fears about Israel’s military readiness.

 

An inconclusive result in Spain’s election

Spain was thrust into political uncertainty yesterday after national elections left no party with enough support to form a government. Neither the governing Socialist Party of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez nor his conservative opponents won enough ballots to govern alone in the 350-seat Parliament.

While the conservatives came out ahead, they did not have an absolute majority, and the allies in the hard-right Vox party with whom they might have partnered to form a government saw their support crater, as Spaniards rejected extremist parties. See the full results.

 

The outcome was an inconclusive election and a political muddle that has become familiar to Spaniards since their two-party system fractured nearly a decade ago. It seemed likely to leave Spain in political limbo at an important moment, when it holds the rotating presidency of the European Council as it faces down the threat of Russian aggression in Ukraine.

 

A political survivalist: Sánchez defied expectations, increasing his party’s seats in Parliament and gaining enough support with his left-wing allies, for now, to block the formation of a conservative government.

Ukraine’s halting counteroffensive

Times journalists spent a month reporting on Ukraine’s fight to gain ground against Russia. They found a violent stalemate, with Ukraine facing an array of obstacles — weary soldiers, unreliable munitions — as it confronts a determined opponent.

 

Despite Ukraine’s adaptations, it has made marginal progress in its ability to coordinate directly between its troops closest to Russian forces on the so-called zero line and those assaulting forward. As casualties mount, soldiers in the trenches are often older and have less training. Ammunition is in short supply, and the communication system can be slow. Many countries have given Ukraine munitions, but accuracy varies wildly among the various shells.

 

Quotable: “We’re trading our people for their people, and they have more people and equipment,” said one Ukrainian commander.

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