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jewish and democratic

  • Naftali Bennett's vision: Equality through Jewish supremacy

    Behind all the pretty words, Bennett's speech at the Israel Prize ceremony reveals exactly what he's after: a Jewish nationalist theocracy.  By Gil Gertel During last Thursday's annual Israel Prize ceremony, Education Minister Naftali Bennett gave a speech laying out his vision. He called for the establishment of a national, Jewish state, and in order to justify his outlook he used a history that doesn't even exist in the bible, scorned diaspora Jews, and promised equality for all through Jewish supremacy. "This is the only way," he summarized his speech in support of Jewish theocracy, to the applause of those…

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  • When equality is the biggest existential threat of all

    In these days of entrapping human rights activists and blacklisting 'traitors,' the concept of equality has become as radical as it gets — and a threat to everything the governing regime stands for. Last week Israeli lawmakers had the opportunity to take a first step towards enshrining equality in the law. They rejected this opportunity, voting down Joint List MK Jamal Zahalka's proposed amendment to include a clause on equality in Israel's Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. [tmwinpost] The vote was taken on a preliminary reading of Zahalka's bill, meaning that it was shot down before it even left…

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  • Stop asking whether Israel is Jewish or democratic

    This isn’t a choice between 'Jewish or democratic' — the only question is whether Israel can still become a true democracy. For some years, the political center-left in Israel has committed itself to the idea of a Jewish and democratic state. For these mostly secular and traditional people, “Jewish” used to mean some sort of cultural character, and democracy meant free and fair elections. This political camp is deeply committed to the balance between those two ideas and believes that when one overtakes the other, we are lost. [tmwinpost] Thus if Israel is too “Jewish,” it risks becoming a halakhic…

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  • In the Jewish state, equality for Arabs is impossible by definition

    Isn’t it time to finally ask why every single attempt to achieve full equality for Palestinian citizens has failed? By Umar al-Ghubari (translated by Richard Flantz) This week the Israeli army radio, Galei Tzahal, conducted a survey which, among other things, polled the attitude of Israeli Jews regarding full equal rights for Arab citizens of Israel. The results of the survey, conducted among 503 Jews, revealed that the Jewish public in this country is almost equally divided on this issue. 45 percent oppose full equal rights for the state’s Arab citizens, 43 percent are in favor, 6 percent replied “it…

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  • The Zionist dream is over — it's time to move forward

    The Zionist dream is disappearing due to the rise of the messianic Right. Jews who are worried must know there is an alternative: building a society based on equality and democracy. The end of the Zionist era is upon us. Perhaps it is time to close this chapter in the history of the Jewish people. The Zionist movement has succeeded, and now it is time to take down the monster before it goes too far. [tmwinpost] You, our Jewish cousins, established a state in the most unjust way possible. One cannot hide the Palestinian people or what they have gone…

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  • Privatizing Israel's migrant care puts profits before people

    On paper Israel's for-profit manpower agencies act as job providers for impoverished groups from third world countries. In reality, they are the drivers of a system that harms workers, employers, and the state. By Abigail F. Kolker In Israel, there are some 60,000 migrant caregivers, comprising the largest group of documented migrant workers in the country. These workers provide individualized, home-based care for the elderly and severely disabled. The vast majority (over 80 percent) of these workers are women, mostly hailing from the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, and Moldova. [tmwinpost] The recruitment and monitoring of migrant caregivers is controlled…

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  • Who needs the Right when we have Isaac Herzog?

    What is the difference between warning about Arab hordes heading to the polls and warning of Arabs being democratically elected to parliament? A few days after Benjamin Netanyahu swept the elections — partly attributed to his election-day racist warnings about Israel's Palestinian minority — I wrote a piece about his rival, Isaac Herzog, who was lugging his own brand of anti-Arab racism along with him on the campaign trail. [tmwinpost] Throughout the race, Herzog positioned himself as an alternative to Netanyahu who would reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, save Israel from looming international isolation, and return the country…

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  • High Court okays plan to raze Arab village, build Jewish one in its place

    By upholding the state's explicitly racist plan for Umm el-Hiran, the court shows again that it cares more about Israel's Jewish character than about democracy and justice. One year ago, the unrecognized Bedouin village of Alsira won a major victory when the Be’er Sheva District Court refused to reinstate demolition orders against the entire village. The case set a legal precedent for defending other unrecognized villages threatened by the discriminatory Prawer Plan, which could forcibly displace up to 70,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Naqab (Negev). That cautious hope was dashed last week, however, when, in a 2-1 ruling,…

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  • Goodbye status quo: Israel's impending moment of truth

    There are no guarantees that the near future will herald freedom for Israel/Palestine. It will, however, shatter the perception of comfort that has paralyzed Israel since the beginning of the millennium. By Ran Greenstein When we look at the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a curious pattern can be detected. Every 20 or 30 years a major turning point is reached. This happens in part due to pure coincidence, and in part due to natural processes involving generational change, which takes two or three decades to mature. The cycle started in 1897 with the foundation of the Zionist movement, which…

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  • The many denials of liberal Zionism

    From its origins until today, liberal Zionism has been unable to reconcile Israeli policies of dispossession and military control with the image of a democratic state. Is it merely a matter of semantics, or inherent to the ideology? Part two of Ran Greenstein's analysis. By Ran Greenstein As discussed in the previous part of this article, liberal Zionists like Arthur Ruppin and Hans Kohn responded in divergent ways to the challenge of reconciling broad universal values with narrow Zionist aims. What they shared with other activists and intellectuals, though, was full realization of the costs involved in their choices. This…

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  • On left-wing NGOs and asylum seekers, 'Jerusalem Post' is all doublespeak

    In an editorial published Tuesday, 'The Jerusalem Post' accused left-wing NGOs of bringing African asylum seekers to Israel in order to undermine the state's Jewish majority. By accusing the Left of such Machiavellian tactics, the Post's editorial board is, quite simply, inciting against those whose political views it disagrees with. The Jerusalem Post saw fit to publish what is ostensibly a critical editorial about the recent protests by African asylum seekers in Israel on Tuesday, but which amounts to little more than a poison-pen letter to the country's left-wing NGOs. Using the familiar trojan horse of the demographic threat Africans pose…

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  • Denying 'Israeli nationality' only perpetuates discrimination

    One group of Israelis is working tirelessly to ensure that every citizen of Israel feels like they belong, regardless of religion or ethnicity. By Uzzi Ornan (Translated by Jordan Michaeli) There is a discriminatory regime in Israel, a regime under which citizens are granted and denied rights on the basis of whether they are Jews or non-Jews. Separate laws were made to determine citizens' personal status or issues such as the state's official days of rest. Even if an Israeli citizen does not believe the government should be able to decide whether they “belong” (or if they "belong") to any…

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  • Why I oppose recognizing Israel as a Jewish state

    A country can, at least in theory, be 'Israeli and democratic.' It cannot and will never be 'Jewish and democratic.' Early into his second term as prime minister, as he was presenting his conditions for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a new demand for any final status agreement, one which was absent from every previous round of talks, both formal and informal. Unlike his predecessors, Netanyahu wasn't satisfied with Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel, something the PLO did in 1988, and once again as part of the Oslo Accords. He wants them to…

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