Netanyahu has probably spent his Passover vacation trying to reach a deal that would enable the settlers to save face and stay in the government while peace talks continue. The Right is launching campaigns to convince right-wing politicians to vote 'no.' With a little more than a week left until the formal deadline for the Israeli-American-Palestinian talks, efforts to extend the negotiations still haven't produced a breakthrough. Nevertheless, a last-minute deal shouldn't be ruled out either; often times, the most productive political maneuvering takes place when no news is reported. On the Israeli side, the best indicators – as always – come from…Read More... | 2 Comments
Knesset Member Zvulun Kalfa, of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, is calling for Israel to annex the West Bank and allow Palestinians to participate in Israeli general elections. "Palestinians should get full citizenship rights, equality, investment in infrastructure [in their] communities and voting rights to the Knesset," Kalfa told the Israel Hayom daily. According to Kalfa, this is the only way to dismiss for good the claim that Israel is discriminating against Palestinians or that it is an Apartheid state. "I am for a single state for everyone." Kalfa estimates that Jews will be able to remain a majority in the…Read More... | 10 Comments
Prime Minister Netanyahu is fanning the flames of a confrontation with Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett. For now the public rift serves both sides. Concern is growing among the settlers over Kerry's peace initiative. I heard a person close to the Yesha Council – the settlers' main advocacy and lobbying organization – say that at the council’s most recent general assembly, people used terms that haven't been heard since Oslo days. Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party (formally the National Religious party) attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier this week for floating the idea that Israeli settlers would remain…Read More... | 9 Comments
History has shown that the longer the ultra-Orthodox are excluded from the Israeli coalition, the more likely are the chances that they forge alliances with left-of-centre and dovish partners. Could the Haredi parties be the ones to tip the balance in favor of a peace agreement? By Romana Michelon As of late July, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is once again making global headlines. Largely the result of the diplomatic efforts made by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, this is the first time since 2010 that chief negotiators representing Israel and the Palestinian Authority confront one another in direct, albeit…Read More... | 4 Comments
After signing Tzipi Livni onto his coalition, Netanyahu doesn't need Yair Lapid anymore - he can have the haredim and Naftali Bennett while pacifying Obama. Give the devil his due: Bibi pulled off a masterstroke yesterday by signing Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah party to his coalition. Now he's got clear sailing to his ideal government - one made up of the right wing and ultra-Orthodox, his base, but one that also keeps Obama and the Europeans off his back by giving the appearance - completely hollow - that he intends to try to move toward peace with the Palestinians. That's…Read More... | 21 Comments
The counting of the votes has ended, and we now have the official results for the 2013 Knesset elections. In the last 24 hours Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party has won one more seat at the expense of the United Arab List. The rest of the map is unchanged. Here are the full results: Likud Beitenu 31; Jewish Home 12, Shas 11; United Torah Judaism 7; Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) 19, Kadima 2, Hatnuah (Livni) 6; Labor 15; Meretz 6. Hadash 4; United Arab List 4; Balad 3 Notable changes from the previous elections: Jewish Home, associated with the settlers,…Read More... | 6 Comments
Netanyahu is most likely to form his next government around the religious and the secular middle class, represented by election victors Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. The coalition will concentrate on domestic reform and will only strengthen the status quo on the Palestinian issue. Also: Did Israelis really move left? Seven takeaways from the elections. 1. The future government At the time of writing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s base of Orthodox and right-wing parties has 60 Knesset seats – the same as the potential opposition. Estimates are that the Jewish Home party will finish with another seat at the expense…Read More... | 22 Comments
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…Read More... | 5 Comments
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 pageRead More... | 51 Comments
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…Read More... | 39 Comments
Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Jewish Home party and the rising star of the right, is considered the new, modern and hospitable face of the hard right. His rise in the polls has won him international attention, and the New York Times has called him "the campaign’s most dynamic and influential factor." But underneath the smooth look there seems to be just plain old racism. Here is Bennett in a television debate in 2010 with Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi. In the beginning, Tibi says that he sees a place for Jews ("but not settlers") in the future Palestinian State,…Read More... | 41 Comments
The settlement movement registered major victories this year on various fronts. Its representatives are reaching new heights in politics, the judiciary and the media. One out of five residents east of the Green Line is a settler. The expansion of settlements continues unabated, and - most importantly - settlers are in full control of the Israeli national narrative. In 2012, as more and more observers declared the death of the two-state solution, the settler became the new normal. By Lisa Goldman and Mairav Zonszein For decades, the settler movement and Israel’s secular, largely Ashkenazi urban elite have been playing a game of…Read More... | 37 Comments
The first couple of polls since the announcing of the new elections are out. Here are the numbers: Maariv (Teleseker): Likud 29; Kadima 7; Israel Beitenu 15; Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) 11; Labor 19; Shas 10; United Torah Judaism 6; The Jewish Home 8; Meretz 4; Ra'am-Ta'al 3; Hadash 3; Balad 4; Atzmaut (Ehud Barak) 2. Haaretz (Rafi Smith): Likud 29; Kadima 6; Israel Beitenu 13; Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) 17; Labor 17; Shas 10; United Torah Judaism 5; The Jewish Home 5; Meretz 4; Ra'am-Ta'al 5; Hadash 4; Balad 2; Atzmaut (Ehud Barak) 0. > Click here for 972's Knesset poll…Read More... | 7 Comments
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