When establishing the Knesset’s Palestinian democratic party, the founders of Balad had to shift their discourse and terminology: from the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of one inclusive democratic state, to the reinvention of Israel as a democratic state, the party's secretary general writes. But has such a shift paid off? By Awad Abdelfattah On the eve of the 2009 Knesset elections, as I stepped off a platform following a political debate, an Israeli journalist approached me. "Is it true that you don’t vote,” she asked, “even though you are secretary general of a party that takes part in elections?”…Read More... | 45 Comments
The Knesset raised the election threshold earlier this month, which will have an adverse effect on the ability of most Arab parties to win seats in Israel's parliament. What would happen if, in response, all of the Arab and non-Zionist parties unite and run on a joint list? Related: Knesset raises threshold to four seats, putting Arab parties at risk Knesset approves bill that could push Arab parties outRead More... | 3 Comments
Three major laws were passed in the Knesset this week: One against the Palestinians parties, the second against the ultra-Orthodox, and the third against the prospect of peace. Netanyahu's coalition mobilized this week to pass its centerpiece legislation: the draft reform, the governance law and the referendum law. It's not a coincidence that those three laws are directly targeting those who are not represented in the government – the first takes aim at the ultra-Orthodox community, the second at the Arab citizens of Israel, and the third is meant to torpedo a future agreement with the Palestinians. The laws were…Read More... | 11 Comments
When a minority consistently feels disenfranchised and excluded, it retreats from civil society. Now is the time to ensure that Israel’s Palestinian minority and its elected representatives no longer take that route - for the sake of all citizens. By Ilan Manor Following the shameful presidency of convicted rapist Moshe Katzav, most Israelis felt that only Nobel Prize laureate Shimon Peres could restore dignity to the office of president. In the past six-and-a-half years in office, Peres not only rehabilitated the presidency, he also revitalized it and its influence. There is no greater testament to his success than the fact that…Read More... | 20 Comments
Despite the surprising weakness of the Right-ultra-Orthodox bloc, the final result of the elections, according to exit polls, is still likely to be a status-quo Netanyahu-led government. Why? Because the big winner in this election, media personality Yair Lapid, is a vapid centrist who is likely to join Netanyahu’s coalition and make little noise on policy -- either on Israel-Palestine, or any other topic The exit-poll results are in, and Noam has an excellent summary of the headline figures. A lot of the attention, as actual results pour in through the night, will be focused on the balance between the…Read More... | 13 Comments
With almost all the votes counted, it is clear that support for the prime minister's party has collapsed, journalist Yair Lapid has led his new centrist party to second place and Meretz has doubled its strength. With roughly 98 percent of the votes cast in the Israel's elections counted, Netanyahu’s Right-Orthodox bloc appears to have captured 61 seats out of the Knesset’s 120 (as opposed to 65 in the current Knesset). The prime minister's joint ticket with Avigdor Lieberman’s faction – called Likud-Beitenu – has 31 seats, as opposed to the 42 the two parties together hold in the current…Read More... | 16 Comments
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…Read More... | 14 Comments
The actual right-wing bloc looks set to win over 100 of the Knesset's 120 seats in Tuesday's election. There's only one reason to vote against it: the future. "Right-wing bloc's majority slashed," read the headline over today's election poll in Haaretz. "The gap is closing," according to the poll in today's Yedioth Aharonoth. Both surveys showed the right-religious bloc getting 63 Knesset seats and the center-left-Arab bloc getting 57, and both showed the steadily weakening Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu down to 32. Even if it is still clear to everyone that Netanyahu will lead the next government, many people will likely gather…Read More... | 54 Comments
Signs that the ultra-Orthodox Shas party might return to its dovishness of the 1990s could mean a moderate partner in a right-wing coalition. A left-wing coalition is possible only if Arab parties are finally brought in. By Daniel Easterman A few weeks ago, listeners of the popular Kol Rega radio station heard the startling revelation that Shas Knesset Member and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Yitzhak Vaknin, would support a peace agreement based on the 2003 Geneva Accords. Can this be? After all, the non-official Geneva Accords, signed nine years ago by Yossi Beilin and his Palestinian counterpart, Yasser Abed-Rabbo,…Read More... | 9 Comments
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Is Hebrew U targeting its Palestinian students? http://t.co/zWvpDtL1QY
12 Palestinian students face expulsion from Hebrew U for solidarity protest w/ hunger strikers: http://t.co/zWvpDtL1QY
Hebrew University threatens Palestinian students with expulsion for political activities http://t.co/zWvpDtL1QY
RT @MairavZ: Some imp facts on Jerusalem, i.e. only 4.4% of city's welfare budget is allocated and spent in East Jerusalem http://t.co/o6si…