Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

Chaotic protests broke out last night shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defense minister for criticizing a divisive judicial overhaul. The dismissal intensified an already dramatic domestic crisis — one of the gravest in Israeli history.

Netanyahu’s decision appeared as an unmistakable signal that the government intends to proceed with a final vote in Parliament early this week on the first part of proposed changes. The plan would give the legislature greater control over the Supreme Court. But if his intent was to muscle through the judicial changes with a fait accompli, his action may have backfired.

There have been months of mass protests, but none matched the intensity of those that began spontaneously within minutes of the dismissal.

In Tel Aviv, protesters blocked a multilane highway and set fires in at least two major roads. In Jerusalem, crowds broke through police barriers outside Netanyahu’s private residence.

The heads of Israel’s leading research universities collectively announced that they would close their classrooms for the immediate future. Israel’s consul general in New York resigned in protest. And Histadrut, the country’s largest labor union, hinted at a general strike.

Background: A day before he was fired, Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, had called for a halt to the government’s plan. He had warned that it was causing turmoil in the military and was therefore a threat to Israel’s security.

The debate: The government says the changes would make the court more representative of Israel’s diversity and give elected lawmakers primacy over unelected judges. Critics say the measures would remove one of the few remaining checks on government wrongdoing and could lead to authoritarian rule.


In a television interview, Putin gave new details of a plan that he first floated last year. He said that 10 Belarusian warplanes have already been retrofitted to carry Russian nuclear weapons and that a storage facility for the warheads would be ready by July 1.

Western officials condemned Putin’s remarks as irresponsible. Still, they said that they saw no indication that Russia was making changes to how it deploys nuclear weapons. And although worries have lingered, U.S. officials have seen no effort by Russia to move or employ its nuclear weapons and believe that the risk of their use is low.

Belarus: President Aleksandr Lukashenko has allowed Putin to use Belarus as a staging ground, but has not openly committed his own troops to the war. (Belarus is Russia’s closest international ally and borders both Ukraine and Russia.)


Countries across Asia and the Pacific are bolstering their defense budgets, spooked by China’s growing hostilities with the U.S., Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and doubts about U.S. resolve in the region. The current arms race is the most significant in Asia since World War II.

Eyeing China, the U.S. is working to expand military access and build partnerships across the Indo-Pacific. Australia unveiled a $200 billion plan to build nuclear-propelled submarines with the U.S. and Britain. U.S. officials are working to amass a giant weapons stockpile in Taiwan. The Philippines is preparing to host its largest U.S. military presence in decades.

After decades of pacifism, Japan recently agreed to increase its military spending by 60 percent over the next five years, which would give it the third-largest defense budget in the world. It is conducting training exercises with U.S. forces on Tinian, a tiny island that is part of the Northern Mariana Islands. The site is symbolic: U.S. planes carrying atomic bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki were launched from there in 1945.

“We’re not concerned with the past, we are concerned with the future,” a Japanese commander there said. “We can ensure stability by showing strength.”

Italy, which has the oldest population in the West, does not have enough human caregivers. Social robots could fill the caregiving gap and help older people stay stimulated, active and engaged.

The soccer uniform brand disrupting industry giants: Castore was set up by two brothers from Britain. Now with Andy Murray on board, it is finding a niche in the uniform market.

The Tinder for soccer transfers: A new service that has been likened to speed dating on an industrial scale has been responsible for more than 3,000 deals already.

Being a transgender soccer player in 2023: Abuse, violence and persecution — but acceptance, too — all are part of being a trans soccer player in England.

Under China’s one-child policy, many families preferred sons. That has led to a lopsided gender ratio: There just aren’t enough women.

The imbalance has intensified competition for wives and made marriage more expensive, at least for some would-be grooms and their parents. “Bride prices,” a tradition of betrothal gifts paid to the woman’s family, are skyrocketing. In some provinces, the payments average $20,000. Some can exceed $50,000.

Such payments have made marriage unaffordable for many families and pose a problem for China as it faces a shrinking population. To fight the practice, some local governments have rolled out campaigns instructing unmarried women to not compete with each other for the highest sums. Others have capped payments.

But even though bride prices aren’t popular, the crackdown has drawn criticism. Many say the practice reinforces sexist stereotypes; Chinese media often portrays women as greedy for seeking big sums. Some also question why men aren’t tasked with solving the problem.

And official campaigns often sidestep a key fact: The problem is partly of the government’s own making.

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