Early elections in Israel have been set for January 22. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman will stand at the head of a joint list formed by Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, and a fragmented opposition will have a hard time preventing the formation of a right-wing coalition. These are the first elections since the 2011 social protests, and they take place against the backdrop of settlement expansion, deepening occupation, and an Israeli threat to attack Iran. +972 bloggers bring you the latest elections news and analysis. Check out our Knesset Poll Tracker, which you can access from the top right of this page, for the latest projections.
Why I let a Palestinian woman from East Jerusalem decide my vote
It doesn't feel good or empowering to give up my right to vote. It feels mostly shitty, and maybe that is how it is supposed to feel. But as long as it is not an inalienable right for those who live under the same governmental roof, it is absolutely alienable to me. I just returned from the voting booth in Tel Aviv. Voting is such a private matter, and at the end of the day, nobody except the person voting knows who he/she voted for. My voting experience today, however, wasn't a private matter. And it wasn't an enjoyable or empowering…
An Israeli chooses to share his privilege of voting
An Israeli university student discusses the process that led him to give his vote to a Palestinian friend without one. By Liel Maghen As an Israel citizen and believer democracy, I have always cherished my ability to vote. Through last three elections, I have implemented this right with an authentic belief that using it is my responsibility as a citizen and that it has a real effect on my daily life. However, since the last election, I have learned that the right to vote is not a basic right in my country, but a privilege dependent on geography and ethnicity.…
Watching elections I cannot vote in
Until few days ago, I wasn't able to vote. According to the Israeli system, I still cannot vote. However, my friend Liel Maghen asked to vote in my place, an act that if taken en masse, has the potential to shock and challenge Israel's policies of oppression like never before. Many Palestinians in Jerusalem are watching the Israeli elections unfold before their eyes without being able influence their outcome. After 1967, Israel annexed Jerusalem but didn't annex its population. Palestinians in Jerusalem became "residents" in their homeland. They were given some rights but were given no way to influence the government…
Confessions of a voting virgin
'I cast my first vote ever today. It was in the Israeli elections where one vote really makes a difference, and I truly cherished this moment.' I’m in my mid-30s and I’m embarrassed to say I had never voted. For me, voting in the U.S. – where I spent much of my time – had sadly and frustratingly proven to be inconvenient and lacking of potential for impact. Make no mistake about it, I’m not an apathetic person and I treasure the value of the vote, especially after having seen first-hand, places where people don’t have it and what not…
Why Palestinian citizens don't vote in Israeli elections
Israeli society's neglect of the Arab community over the past 20 years has left many Arab citizens with feelings of antagonism or apathy towards the “only democracy in the Middle East.” By Thair Abu-Rass With the Knesset elections only a day away, speculation about the final outcome is at its peak. Most analysts agree that these elections are unpredictable, with the exception of two facts: Bibi Netanyahu will be elected as prime minister, and there will be a considerable boycott of the election among the Palestinian Arab community in Israel. A Haifa University study conducted last month claimed that only 50.7…
Israeli voters upset with Bibi – but will they upset him back?
Make no mistake, regardless of whether Netanyahu has the pieces to cobble together a semi-stable government, the next Knesset will have a sizable cohort of 35-40 fighting progressives, perhaps even more -- something Israel hasn't seen in over a decade. By Assaf Oron Over the past couple of months, there seems to have developed growing disconnect between most of Israel’s political analysts – and the actual dynamics of the campaign for Israel’s general elections, which will take place tomorrow. In October when the election was announced, there was near-universal agreement that it’s all going to be one big garbage time. Prime…
Palestinian MK Zoabi: Voting in Israeli elections is part of the struggle
The Arab League has called on Palestinian citizens of Israel to vote in Tuesday’s parliamentary elections. The unprecedented move by the multi-national Arab group, which in the past supported the Saudi Peace Initiative with Israel, comes as a voter turnout among the Palestinian citizens of Israel – roughly 20% of the Israeli population – is expected to drop yet again. A decade ago three-quarters of Arab-Israelis voted. In the last election, only half did. The majority voted for Arab parties, which are historically excluded – and their voices with it – from coalition-formed governments. Some Arabs end up voting for…
Deliberations of a first-time non-Zionist voter
Less than 48 hours to vote, and I still haven’t decided. The first time I voted I was a soldier in the Israeli Navy. It was 1992, and I remember being all excited about taking part in the democratic process. I walked over the plank of my missile boat towards a decaying building on shore, and in greasy hands proudly voted for Yitzhak Rabin. So much has happened since that first vote of mine: to me, to Israelis, to Palestinians. But one thing hasn’t changed, the occupation. Back then, the occupation had a certain temporal feel to it, as if…
Election punditry masks cynicism toward democratic change
While pundits recycle the same stale political issues and celebrities take part in almost-satirical get-out-the-vote campaigns, beyond the façade of Israeli democracy, true change lies beyond the ballot box. By Fiona Wright Commentary on Israeli elections is stuck in a depressing stalemate that masks deep cynicism toward a democratic process few believe can bring real change. Election after election, pundits weigh in on minor political shifts to the right, the effects of the latest war or the inevitable question of Palestinian-Israeli citizens’ ambivalence towards the whole process. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. What is conspicuously under-analyzed, however,…
Final Israeli elections poll: Netanyahu’s bloc with a clear majority
The last polls ahead of Tuesday’s election have been published. Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu joint ticket could lose as many as eight seats, but the right-wing coalition he is projected to lead is still strong. Meretz is trending up, while Livni is losing support. We have updated out Poll Tracker with the surveys published over the weekend. Election laws forbid publishing polls in the days immediately prior to the vote, so this is likely the last round of numbers we will see from the various polling firms, at least publicly (the parties continue to conduct internal polls sometimes). This pie represents the…
Future Member of Knesset for Jewish Home party: 'Dome of Rock doesn't belong there' (WATCH)
I posted a video Friday showing Jeremy Gimpel, number 14 on Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home list to the next Knesset, talking about the Dome of Rock being "blown up." It wasn't a gaffe: Here is Gimpel explaining in a radio show why the Dome of Rock - the holiest site for Muslims in the land - simply "doesn't belong where it is." According to Gimpel, even God wanted us to realize this. Watch: Related WATCH: Candidate from Jewish Home party wants Dome of the Rock blown up +972 Magazine's Israeli election page
WATCH: Candidate from Jewish Home party wants Dome of the Rock blown up
Israeli journalist Yehuda Nuriel came across this video of Jeremy Gimpel, number 14 on Naftali Bennett's Habait Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, speaking before a church in Florida on November 13, 2011. Among other things, Gimpel seems to want the Dome of the Rock to be blown up, making way for the third Jewish Temple. According to most recent polls, Gempel is expected to enter the next Knesset. Between the years 1982-1984, Israeli security services uncovered no less than three plans by Jewish extremists to blow up mosques on the Temple Mount. The most advanced was prepared by The Jewish Underground…
Israelis cannot 'democratically' decide to continue the occupation
The absence of the occupation - the single most important issue which dominates life of Jews and Palestinians in this country - from the Israeli election campaigns, reflects a national existential crisis, and could render the entire democratic process meaningless. Israelis will go to the polls in four days to determine their future, along with that of several million Palestinians who are under Israeli control. This is the inherent paradox in the Israeli system: a majority voting again and again not to allow a very large minority to participate in its political system. One can view Israel as a democracy…
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