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23 young Jews arrested in anti-occupation protests across U.S.

Hundreds hold ‘Liberation Seders’ outside (and inside) major Jewish American institutions in five major cities, demanding that the Jewish community take a stand against Israel’s occupation. ‘The history of Jewish oppression is not an excuse to oppress Palestinians, but rather an imperative to fight for freedom for all people,’ one arrestee tells +972.

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA — Twenty-three American Jews were arrested over the past week in a series of anti-occupation demonstrations across the United States.

The protests, which took place in major American cities ahead of the weekend’s Passover holiday, brought out over 500 members of the Jewish anti-occupation collective, IfNotNow. Demonstrators used civil disobedience to push major American Jewish institutions to publicly end their support for Israel’s occupation policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Protests took place in Washington DC, Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Berkeley.

The demos followed a similar formula in every city: demonstrators who were willing to be arrested usually tried to enter a major Jewish institution and lead a “Liberation Seder” — a take on the traditional Passover meal, in which the Jews recount the story of their enslavement and struggle for freedom in Egypt. The Liberation Seders, however, fused the traditional ritual with Jewish freedom songs, chants against the oppression of Palestinians, and calls for the collective liberation of all those living in Israel/Palestine.

The first demonstration took place on April 19th, when over 100 activists demonstrated in Washington DC outside the headquarters of Hillel International — the largest Jewish student organization in the world. Later that afternoon Jewish activists in Boston chained themselves to the entrance of the local AIPAC office. The demonstrators then decided to escalate the action, chaining themselves inside the lobby. Six protestors were arrested; they were released later that night and summoned to court the following day. Their next court date is scheduled for May 18.

IfNotNow activists arrested during protest at the ADL:

On Thursday over 100 demonstrators held a Liberation Seder inside the entrance to the the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York City. Seventeen people were arrested and charged with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct, with some of spending over 20 hours in jail.

On Wednesday afternoon approximately 40 activists gathered at the Chicago Jewish Federation to hold their Liberation Seder, while 50 people protested outside the Jewish Federation...

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What critics of Bernie Sanders' Jewish liaison are missing

Simone Zimmerman’s appointment is great news for mainstream American Jews who are desperate for a real conversation on Israel/Palestine.

Over the past few days, it has been difficult to watch the American Jewish establishment’s attacks on my friend, Simone Zimmerman. Just three days ago Simone was appointed the Jewish outreach coordinator for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Within hours of the announcement came a torrent of vicious attacks, both against her as well as the Sanders campaign for having the gall to appoint a critic of Israeli settlements and policies in the occupied territories. (Update: Just hours after publishing this post, the Sanders campaign suspended Simone from her position).

I have known Simone for years, and for years I have watched her unwavering dedication to the American Jewish community, whether through work at her synagogue in Los Angeles, trips to Israel, or leading trainings for young Jews. Her commitment to a people she loves always remained steadfast — even as her views on Israel began to shift away from that establishment, within which she was raised and first came up as a leader.

On the face of it, the criticism leveled against Simone by major media outlets and figures — including former head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, who called on Sanders to fire her — is the result of the severity of her criticism and her choice of words. But let’s be honest: it is neither Simone’s style nor choice of words that is rattling the establishment, rather it is the fact that it is not willing to make room for a leader who has no qualms openly stating that Jewish life is no more precious than Palestinian life.

Here is the lie the American Jewish establishment keeps telling itself: Simone and her ilk (in organizations such as J Street, IfNotNow, and others) are the voice of a minority that must be shut up and shut out of the American Jewish conversation. But sooner or later the old guard will have to contend with the fact that Simone isn’t a radical, and if she is she is not alone. She is the face of the new American Jewish mainstream — one that is no longer afraid of its own gatekeepers.

The old guard cannot handle an American Jewish mainstream that is desperate for a real, open, and sensible conversation about Israel/Palestine. But that’s just...

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Did Bibi's patron newspaper just endorse Trump?

Pro-Netanyahu paper ‘Israel Hayom’ makes clear that Trump is the only candidate who isn’t afraid to go to war against ‘Islamic terror.’

If you happened to glance at Israel Hayom‘s front page on Monday, you may have noticed what look to be a brazen political endorsement. The top headline reads as follows: “Giuliani says: ‘Trump isn’t afraid to say Islamic terror’.”

Monday’s edition of Israel Hayom, the free Israeli daily owned by American casino mogul and Republican bankroller Sheldon Adelson — considered Prime Minister Netanyahu’s patron newspaper — included an interview with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The interview itself is less than illuminating; the real story is the editorial decision to place Giuliani’s invective front and center.

The headline itself surely resonated with most Israel Hayom readers — not to say most Israelis — while the subhead was simply one long attack on presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who according to Giuliani has “failed at everything she has ever done” and “has one of the worst records in history. The subtext is hard to miss: Trump isn’t afraid to fight against Islamic terrorists, and therefore should be viewed by Israelis as the right person for the job. Hillary, on the other hand, is incapable and a failure.

The paper’s editorial decision begs a number of questions: does Israel Hayom have any qualms about standing behind a bigoted presidential candidate who has made anti-Semitic statements — and has been repeatedly condemned by the Anti-Defamation League — not to mention verbal attack after verbal attack on undocumented immigrants, Muslims, and other minorities? Adelson’s paper is notoriously right wing, but does that mean it will undoubtedly get behind any Republican candidate, regardless of his position on Israel (Trump famously said he would remain “neutral” on issues pertaining to Israel/Palestine, although he did throw his support behind Netanyahu in the 2013 elections)?

Israel Hayom, a free daily paper, was created by Adelson as a platform for Netanyahu while circumventing Israel’s extremely strict campaign finance laws. He bankrolls the paper reportedly at a considerable loss, selling ad space significantly below market value to put his competitors at a disadvantage. The paper, now the country’s most widely read, has dramatically upended Israel’s media landscape, and is considered just one of the ways Netanyahu is able to maintain control over the public discourse.

Israel Hayom’s editor-in-chief is Amos Regev, who was reportedly handpicked...

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Palestinian journalist reaches deal to end 94-day hunger strike

Israeli authorities promise to shorten Muhammad al-Qiq’s administrative detention order, not renew it.

Palestinian hunger striker Muhammad al-Qiq ended a 94-day hunger strike on Friday after his lawyers struck a deal with Israeli authorities.

Al-Qiq, who has been in administrative detention since mid-December, will not be transferred to Al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem, as he had initially requested, but will remain in Israel’s Emek Medical Center. However, his administrative detention order will not be renewed, with his lawyers managing to push the date of his release from June 21 to May 21.

Al-Qiq, 33, from the West Bank village of Dura near Hebron, worked as a reporter for the Saudi news channel “Almajd.” He was arrested by the Israeli army from his home on the night of November 21, 2015. He was not allowed to make contact with either his wife or his attorney for many days after his arrest.

The Shin Bet claims al-Qiq is a member of Hamas who was previously jailed several times due to his activities in the organization. His current detention, according to the Shin Bet, came following “founded suspicions of involvement in terror activities with Hamas.” Since his arrest, al-Qiq has not once been formally charged with committing a crime.

WATCH: Muhammad al-Qiq at Haemek hospital in northern Israel

According to reports in the Palestinian media over the weekend, negotiations to end al-Qiq’s hunger strike were accelerated in recent days due to his deteriorating medical condition. As his hunger strike wore on, Al-Qiq began suffering from serious vertigo, had lost most of his sight and hearing, and could barely speak.

Israel’s High Court of Justice “suspended” Al-Qiq’s administrative detention on February 4. The court did not, however, allow his release, refusing to cancel his administrative detention order despite his serious medical condition.

Israel is currently imprisoning without charge or trial hundreds of Palestinians and at least one Jewish Israeli. The authority to issue administrative detention orders is drawn from pre-state colonial laws that are only valid as long as Israel is officially in a state of emergency, which it has been continuously since its establishment in 1948.

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The life and death of the Israeli peace camp

Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog is channeling the same tropes and spin Ehud Barak used to destroy the peace process 15 years ago. Will we have to wait another decade and a half for him to admit what he’s done?

On a balmy evening in October of 2000, Ehud Barak, then the Israeli prime minister and Labor Party chairman, held a press conference in Tel Aviv where he made a rattling announcement that would leave its imprint on the Israeli establishment for years to come. Israel, he said, has no partner for peace.

It had been only several months since the Camp David peace talks came to a stuttering halt, and like every politician worth his salt, Barak realized that his political future depended on convincing the Israeli public he was not at fault for the failure of the talks. So he and his political advisors devised a mantra that would come to define the last decade and a half, and haunting the Israeli peace camp.

The spin worked, and for good reason. One week earlier, Palestinians in the occupied territories had launched the Second Intifada. Israel’s Palestinian citizens were taking to the streets en masse to protest in solidarity with those in the West Bank and Gaza. All of a sudden Barak, who defeated Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1999 elections and received a mandate to reach an “historical agreement” with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, found himself in a bind.

His government had collapsed even before the talks launched, and he knew he would be facing inevitable elections regardless of the talks’ success. While the “no partner” spin may not have been good for the future of peace talks — which resumed in various constellations after Camp David — or even in the general interest of the country, Barak saw it as his political lifejacket.

Israelis, for their part, had good reason to believe Barak. Deep distrust of Arafat coupled with a brewing uprising that would go on to become far deadlier than its predecessor undid much of what the peace camp had achieved over the previous decade during the heyday of the Oslo years.

Yet Barak’s insistence on turning dictum into common sense gave his “no partner” spin near-mythical powers, so much so that it essentially set the tone for successive Israeli governments over the next 15 years. From Ariel Sharon’s one-sided Gaza disengagement —...

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Jewish politicians meet with terrorist families too

Netanyahu wants to kick Arab MKs out of the Knesset for meeting with families of Palestinian terrorists. Will the same standard be upheld for those who meet with Jewish terrorists?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to punish Palestinian members of Knesset for meeting with families of Palestinians who have carried out deadly attacks against Jewish Israelis. But could his initiative backfire and end up punishing members of his own government?

The prime minister announced on Sunday that he would be promoting legislation to bar three MKs who met with families of terrorists from serving in Knesset. His announcement came in response to a report that Arab members of Knesset from the nationalist Balad faction of the Joint List met with the families of Palestinian terrorists. The Balad MKs said the visit was humanitarian, in order to help negotiate the release of the bodies Israel refuses is holding on to. The MKs reportedly took part in a moment of silence for the attackers.

Netanyahu called on the opposition to support his initiative in addition to a complaint he filed against the three with the Knesset’s Ethics Committee.

The prime minister’s proposal, however, could entangle a top minister in the Israeli government. According to American liberal Jewish newspaper The Forward, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked met recently with the mother of an Israeli-American minor suspect in the murder of three Palestinians last year. The arson in the West Bank village of Duma was considered a terrorist attack by the Israeli government and defense establishment. According to his attorney, following his arrest, the minor was subject to torture and solitary confinement by his Shin Bet interrogators.

In that case, allegations of torture markedly overshadowed the meeting between Israel’s justice minister with the mother of a suspected terrorist. In fact, as opposed to the Balad MKs, details of Shaked’s meeting could not be reported in the Israeli media due to a sweeping gag order on the case.

The Duma suspect, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. Israeli leaders have not only met with the families of convicted terrorists, some of them even employ them. Take Nathan Nathanson, who was convicted in 1985 for his involvement in the Jewish Underground and taking part in three car bombings against Palestinian mayors in June 1980. He was sentenced to three years in prison. Today Nathanson is a political advisor to Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Or take...

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What makes Palestinian security officials turn on Israelis?

The reality in the West Bank has pushed some Palestinians to enforce an occupation against their own people.

On Sunday morning, 34-year-old Amjed Sakari, a member of the Palestinian security services, drove up to an Israeli checkpoint reserved exclusively for Palestinian Authority personnel. When asked to produce his ID, he stepped out of the car and opened fire, wounding three Israeli soldiers. In response, the IDF put Ramallah, the political and financial capital of the West Bank, under near-total lockdown.

The driver and bodyguard of the Palestinian chief prosecutor, Sakari is only the second member of the PA security forces to commit an attack since the latest round of violence erupted last October. The first was Mazan Hasan Ariva, an intelligence officer in the Palestinian Authority, who opened fire on an Israeli civilian and a soldier at Hizma checkpoint near Ramallah in December of last year.

As Amos Harel points out, it is too early to tell whether Sakari and Ariva’s actions are a harbinger of things to come, and yet this current political moment should give us pause.

Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967 and until 1993, Israel has been the sole sovereign power in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accords produced a series of political and economic agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the most significant of which was the creation of the Palestinian Authority — an interim self-governing body established to oversee both security and civil matters in parts of the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip.

While the PA was not allowed a military, it could establish its own security forces, including police and secret service. These forces work in tandem with the Shin Bet and the Israeli army to foil attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers as well as to prevent insurrection against the PA within Areas A and B.

On paper, Oslo laid out a years-long process of granting piecemeal autonomy to the Palestinians in the occupied territories. In reality, successive Israeli governments have used the PA to outsource the security duties of the Israeli army to a nascent, American-trained Palestinian police force. Meanwhile, Israel’s settlement enterprise continued to gnaw away at an already-fraught territorial contiguity in the West Bank. Today there are over half a million Israeli settlers beyond the Green Line, supported by one of the most...

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WATCH: Ever wonder what a 'settler takeover' looks like?

Dozens of Israeli settlers with crowbars descend on two homes in the old city of Hebron. Israeli authorities remove them a day later.

The phrase “settler takeover” is used fairly often by the international media to discuss a common occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But rarely do the cameras actually capture just how this kind of thing is done. That’s why the sight of dozens of Israeli settlers with crowbars descending on two homes in the old city of Hebron is as surprising as it is disturbing.

The settlers, who took over the buildings on Thursday, claimed to have purchased the properties, located near the Cave of the Patriarchs. Israeli authorities were not previously informed of the takeover. According to Israeli political analyst Tal Schneider, the decision to take over the two homes was orchestrated by high-ranking members within the ruling Likud party, none of whom actually live in West Bank settlements.

Israeli security forces removed the settlers on Friday morning, with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon calling them “intruders” who “trampled the law” for not taking the necessary legal measures required to move into the houses. None of the settlers were arrested, however.

The last major settler takeover in Hebron occurred in April 2014, when three Israeli families moved into a contested home, following a years-long legal battle that culminating with an authorization from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Palestinians claimed the property was purchased using forged documents, but Israel’s Supreme Court rejected that claim. Settlers often buy Palestinian land through front companies, the most famous of which is named Al Wattan (homeland in Arabic). Read more about fraudulent settler land purchase tactics here.

Earlier this month settlers used a front company meant to appear like a Swedish church group in order to purchase property for a new settlement in between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Defense Minister Ya’alon eventually approved that purchase, to the chagrin of the United States.

Settlers in Jerusalem often use similar tactics to take over Palestinian property, even when the buildings themselves aren’t abandoned, such as the case of the Sub Laban family, whom settlers nearly expelled from their Old City home in March of last year.

In late 2014, Israeli settlers took over three empty apartment buildings in the heart of the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. They moved in under...

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These are the anti-occupation activists jailed under gag order

Israeli authorities arrest prominent activists Ezra Nawi, Guy Butavia, and Nasser Nawajah. At least one of them was barred from meeting with his attorney for days. In court, one activist says his interrogators used materials taken directly from a right-wing organization.

Photos and video by Oren Ziv/

The three anti-occupation activists in Israeli custody whose identities were under gag order until Thursday are Ezra Nawi, Guy Butavia, and Nasser Nawajah. The three were arrested over the past week and half in the wake of a “sting operation” by Israeli right-wing group, Ad Kan, which accused them of collaborating with the Palestinian Security Services against a Palestinian man who was allegedly trying to sell West Bank land to Israeli settlers. The sting aired on Israel’s primetime investigative report show, “Uvda.”

All three cases were put under a sweeping gag order, which prevented +972 and the entire Israeli media from reporting their identities or any details of the investigation.

“Ad Kan” (loosely translated to “No More”), arms its members with hidden cameras in order to capture high-profile leftists doing or saying incriminating things. This way, Ad Kan’s founders claim, it can be proven once and for all that Israeli human rights groups actually care very little about human rights.

Nawi, an Israeli Jew of Iraqi descent and an activist with anti-occupation direct action group Ta’ayush, was caught on camera telling an undercover right-wing activist that he often receives calls from Palestinian land brokers who wish to sell property in the West Bank to Israelis, but who cannot do so on the open market because doing so is a criminal offense under Palestinian law.

Nawi was then secretly filmed pretending to act as a middleman. On the video, he then explains that he will report the Palestinian land broker to the Palestinian Preventive Security Force, which he says will torture and kill both the seller and middleman.

Uvda showed Nawi meeting with the middleman to discuss the details of the deal. Nawi is later shown discussing — along with Najawah, a field worker from Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem — how to report the land broker to Palestinian security forces.

Nawi was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport three days after the program aired, although there was no legal barrier to him from leaving the country prior to his arrest. His attorney said he was trying to leave the...

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Israeli authorities arrest two more human rights activists

A sweeping gag order has been issued on all details of the cases.

Two human rights activists, an Israeli and a Palestinian, were arrested late Tuesday night. The Palestinian activist was arrested by Israeli army forces at his home in the South Hebron Hills and was transferred to the police for questioning.

A sweeping gag order has been issued on details of each of the cases, and all hearings have been held behind closed doors. Beyond specific gag orders, Israeli law bars the publication of any identifying information about a suspect for 48 hours after their arrest or before they are indicted in court, whichever comes first.

The arrests come more than a week after a prominent left-wing activist was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport on suspicion of making contact with a foreign agent. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered the activist to be released to house arrest after more than a week in detention. The police appealed the decision, and the Jerusalem District Court will hear the appeal on Thursday.

The activist, who was arrested last Sunday, was only allowed to meet with his lawyer on Friday, four days after he was first arrested, and even then reportedly only out of concern for his physical and mental health.

The man, whose identity is under gag order, was the subject of a right-wing hidden camera ‘sting operation’ broadcast on Israeli television recently.

Israeli security forces themselves often violate privacy laws meant to protect suspects, and in some cases those meant to protect minors, although generally only when the suspect is Palestinian.

Israeli authorities recently began using measures previously reserved for Palestinians against Jewish suspects, primarily those accused of terrorism-related crimes.

Authorities also famously held a former Mossad agent known as Prisoner X incommunicado for years. The story was only even published once an Australian news outlet began reporting its details.

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Are Israel's existential threats slowly disappearing?

The former head of the Mossad says Israel no longer faces existential threats, while one of Netanyahu’s top advisors calls the Sunni Arab states of the Middle East ‘Israel’s allies.’

If there’s one thing most Israelis can agree on, it is that the world is against us. At the very least, so it goes, Israel is surrounded by enemies on all fronts, and the Jewish state’s existence is always in peril. This mantra was seared into the fabric of the Israeli consciousness from the founding of the state and persists until today.

Perhaps that is why recent statements by top-brass Israeli officials come as such a surprise. In a recent interview with Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, outgoing Mossad head Tamir Pardo stated that while Israel still faces security challenges, it no longer faces any existential threats.

While warning that the nature of the challenges Israel must face has shifted dramatically in recent years, Pardo conceded: “Everyone knows Israel is a very strong nation. This is no longer a time when Israel, as a young state, is forced to deal with existential fears.”

Pardo isn’t alone in challenging what is just plain common sense for most people. In July of last year, Dore Gold, the director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, gave a presentation to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York, in which he labeled Sunni Arab states “Israel’s allies.”

Gold used the term twice in the presentation, which focused on the shortcomings of the Iran nuclear deal: “What we have is a regime on a roll that is trying to conquer the Middle East,” Gold said of Iran, “and it’s not Israel talking, that is our Sunni Arab neighbors — and you know what? I’ll use another expression – that is our Sunni Arab allies talking.”

Thus, while Dore was warning of one existential threat — a nuclear Iran — he was essentially rebutting the long-held view according to which the Arab states of the Middle East are actively working to annihilate Israel.

And while Gold did not specify which Sunni Arab nations he was referring to, his public meeting with retired Saudi general and former advisor to the Riyadh government, Anwar Eshki, at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations in June is a sign that the former is putting his money where...

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Time to break the silence: An open letter to American Jews

The American Jewish establishment, from the Federations to synagogues, must take a look in the mirror and decide whether this is the Israel it identifies with. If it isn’t, it should speak up. Urgently. 

Dear American Jewish community,

I should start off with a full disclosure: I am only tangentially a part of you. I have been living in Israel for the past five years, and before that I was an Israeli-American living in the Bay Area (with a brief stint in Los Angeles), where us Israelis viewed ourselves as a semi-autonomous cultural group. For the most part, we were not associated with the Reform or Conservative movements. We went to pray once a year during Yom Kippur, and our Passover seders were always much more about food and togetherness than sussing out some overarching lessons from the Hagada. In fact, at times we even looked down at our American co-religionists. We were mostly Asheknazi and middle class — we had a relationship with our version of Israel that others just couldn’t understand. Like a secret we would only share with those who really get it.

It took me years to get off my high horse — to understand that American Jewish culture is a rich, varied, and beautiful thing. In fact, I finally understood that after living in Israel, where I often feel much more like an American Jew than Israeli. That is why I feel like I can write to you today.

For American Jews who haven’t been paying attention — or have simply decided to ignore what has been happening — I will politely sum it up in three words: things are bad. For Palestinians, things have been bad for much, much longer. It has been nearly five decades since the beginning of the military regime in the occupied territories. Five decades of lording over millions of Palestinians with no end in sight, and almost 70 years after we made sure that Palestinians who were expelled or fled during the 1948 War would not return to their homeland. But I can’t make you care about Palestinians. I know that so much of your identity today is bound up in Israel. My hope is that perhaps through caring about those who seek to defend human rights in the country you care so much about, you will also grow to care about those whose rights they are trying to defend.

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There is no 'day after' Netanyahu

Short of allowing Palestinians to establish an independent state, there is nothing Netanyahu won’t do to ensure his political survival.

Liberal Israeli columnist and Channel 10′s top political commentator Raviv Drucker published a piece in Haaretz Sunday, in which he waxes optimistic about the “day after Netanyahu” and who could possibly take over and bring the Israeli Right back to its proper, “sane” place.

Drucker, of course, knows that barring some unforeseen circumstances, the “day after Netanyahu” is far, far away. Far enough for him to propose Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon as Netanyahu’s possible successor. While Drucker hasn’t forgiven Ya’alon for his “remarks against the U.S. administration,” and does not see much to be proud of in the outcome of last summer’s war on Gaza, he still views the defense minister as someone who “does not hesitate in the face of court decisions ordering the evacuation of unauthorized settlement outposts.”

“He unhesitatingly came out against the far right,” Drucker continues, “stood by President Reuven Rivlin and gave the Shin Bet full support in investigating the Duma arson murders. Compared to Netanyahu, who on these issues speaks belatedly and haltingly, if at all, Ya’alon is like a breath of fresh air.”

Maybe so. But in the meantime, King Bibi isn’t going anywhere. Even within his own party, Netanyahu’s rule remains unchallenged, as we can see by the upcoming Likud primaries. As opposed to previous inner-party votes, in which members vote for the person they wish to lead the party, this time around Netanyahu will be running against himself. As Yossi Verter explains in Haaretz, a primary election that grants Likud voters the ability to either vote for a single candidate or abstain is unprecedented, not to say undemocratic.

The two Likud members deemed most threatening to Netanyahu’s rule — former Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and current Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat — have also been neutralized. Like in every party, Likud’s primaries were slated to be held close to the next election. When it became clear that Barkat, who announced that he would join Likud and run in the next election — and that he had already begun to amass thousands of supporters — could pose a danger to Netanyahu’s rule, the prime minister convinced the Likud Central Committee to vote in favor of moving the primaries to next month.

The key to Netanyahu’s political survival


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