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  • What Israelis really mean when we talk about the Left

    It is a shameful lie to make opposition to 47-year military rule an issue of supporters or traitors of Israel. The war in Gaza yielded a large crop of articles about Liberal Zionism. Suddenly numerous authors felt an urgent need to reject, redefine, defend or deconstruct a term that the vast majority of Israelis have never heard of. However, Israelis are familiar with the same basic concept, except they call it the “Zionist Left,” or national left. They embrace the label “Zionism,” but unlike diaspora-based writers, don’t spend too much time trying to define it.  I can’t recall anything like…

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  • Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85

    Israel's former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who spent the last eight years comatose after a series of strokes, died on Saturday, January 11. He was 85 years old. A general, politician, statesman, and to many a notorious war criminal, Ariel Sharon was known to combine dogged personal ambition with strategic acumen and ruthlessness, which together shaped one of the most controversial and remarkable careers in Israeli political history. Born in the community of Kfar Malal in 1928, Sharon joined the Haganah in the mid 1940s, and first saw action in the run-up to the 1948 War, when his unit staged…

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  • With Livni as his fig leaf, Bibi can now form an extremist government

    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…

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  • Final elections results posted; settler party rises to 12 seats

    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,…

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  • Will surprising results stop a status-quo Netanyahu-led government?

    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…

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  • Israeli elections: Netanyahu scrapes by despite major blow in polls

    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…

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  • A real alternative? Tzipi Livni is far worse than Netanyahu

    Despite her direct responsibility for two wars which took the lives of 2,000 civilians, and her uncompromising, hawkish positions during negotiations with the Palestinians, Tzipi Livni is still considered an acceptable choice for the Israeli 'peace camp.' It is time for the public to stop believing the lies.  By Idan Landau On November 27, 2012, Tzipi Livni announced that she will be running for the upcoming elections as part of the newly-foundd Hatnua party, which presents itself as a diplomatic alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The party seeks to promote the peace processs wth Palestinian Authority and supports two…

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  • Israeli elections round-up: Image of the next Netanyahu government emerges

    Recent attempts to form an 'anti-Bibi' bloc among the centrist parties may very well drive right-wing voters back to the prime minister's hands. One outcome of the unusually short election cycle that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu imposed on the Israeli political system – in an attempt to prevent any serious challenge to his position – is the rapid developments and changes we have been witnessing in the last few weeks. I will deal with some of those issues in this round up, but it is important to note first that nothing too major has actually happened: our poll tracker, which…

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  • Foreign Minister Lieberman: Palestinian police that hit IDF soldiers must die

    The reaction in Israel to viral videos showing IDF “weakness” shows Israelis only care about what they look like in the West Bank, and not why they’re there to begin with. But of all the reactions, Israel’s Foreign Minister had the last laugh once again. It’s been a bad week for us occupiers. Caught by the natives with our pants down. Twice! First, there was this embarrassing moment in Hebron when IDF soldiers were sourrounded by Palestinian police: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s29jtLfVE4 But then came the worst, when Palestinians from the village of Kaddum threw stones on soldiers and the latter - are…

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  • Finally, Israel has an opposition: Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah party

    With all due respect to Meretz and Hadash ...  Until yesterday, the occupation was not an issue in the Israeli election campaign; the only parties running against it were Meretz and the non-Zionist, Arab or largely Arab slates, all of which are marginal to the country's politics. But with Amir Peretz's departure from the Labor Party for Hatnuah (The Movement), where he will be No. 3 after Tzipi Livni and Amram Mitzna, there is now a mainstream party with a critical mass of leadership material at the top whose focus is on ending the conflict with the Palestinians, and whose…

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  • Livni’s comeback could be the last chance to topple Netanyahu

    It's an extreme long shot. Probably impossible. But Tzipi Livni's comeback may be the only way left to change the balance between the blocs, especially if  she and Labor’s Shelly Yachimovich distance themselves from each other A few thoughts on Tzipi Livni’s comeback, announced yesterday. This move, mocked by everyone all over the map, is actually the only chance the Left has. A Hail Mary of sorts. Right now, and judging by the Haaretz poll published today, it’s a move destined to fail. The gloomy data even says the left-wing bloc is actually shrinking more, and that Livni “only” grabs…

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  • Will 'Bieberman' bring down Netanyahu sooner than he thinks?

    The reappearance of some veteran politicians on the scene had Netanyahu worried enough to merge with Lieberman. But while Bibi may be ensured another term, he will ultimately pay for the toll of his economic and political policies on Israelis and Palestinians. By Yacov Ben Efrat Benjamin Netanyahu's call for early elections initially evoked an instinctive response: Who needs this? The result of normal elections, scheduled for next fall, was predictable: Bibi could look forward to another four years as prime minister. He had split the Labor Party and pulverized his main rival, Kadima, dispersing its 29 mandates in all…

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  • It's all about the blocs: Understanding Israeli election polls

    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…

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