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  • Israel's Knesset just voted on a very dangerous law for democracy

    The draft law, which passed the first of three votes on Monday, would allow the expulsion of Arab MKs from the Knesset. It is one of several recent steps by the Netanyahu government to limit Palestinian political participation. Minutes before leaving for the spring recess Monday night, Israel’s Knesset passed the first reading of a law allowing legislators, with a three-quarters super-majority, to expel other members of Knesset for making statements they deem beyond the pale. The law is widely understood to have been drawn up to specifically target Arab-Palestinian members of the Knesset, particularly of one faction, a legislative…

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  • Increasing homophobia mars Knesset LGBT day

    As the Knesset marks first ever 'gay community rights day,' new reports on homophobia in Israel show 80 percent increase in documented homophobic incidents, alarming statistics about levels of violence faced by the LGBT community.  The state of LGBT rights in Israel can effectively be summed up in a series of events surrounding the Knesset's first ever LGBT rights day. As much of an achievement as that was — although with caveats — the day was overshadowed by a number of proposed bills to advance LGBT rights that were shot down before before even getting off the ground. [tmwinpost] A day earlier, a…

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  • Political persecution won't stop us from breaking our silence

    The orchestrated onslaught against Israeli anti-occupation groups have led to death threats and physical attacks. But we will not be scared — we are determined to save our country from the same messianic, nationalistic, and racist forces that harm it. By Yuli Novak Over the last few months, as the Israeli government is less helpless in the face of terror and our foreign relations are at an unprecedented low — we have experienced, for the first time, what political persecution feels like. The ongoing campaign against Breaking the Silence is not intended to criticize or argue over political opinions. The…

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  • The domino effect of persecuting Arab politicians

    The government’s latest attempts to oust Balad from the Knesset are part of an intensifying campaign against Arab political movements, regardless of their different stripes. Three months ago, when the Israeli government outlawed the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, Palestinian citizens of Israel feared that they were witnessing the beginning of an intensified campaign against Arab political groups. Many suspected at the time that the government’s next target would be the Balad party, the nationalist faction of the Joint List, which has been in the crosshairs of consecutive Israeli governments since the 1990s. [tmwinpost] Those suspicions were confirmed last…

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  • No room for occupation in Israel's civics curriculum

    Students who open up the Education Ministry's new civics textbook won't find a word about military rule or discrimination against 20 percent of the population. There's a reason for that. By Gil Gertel Education Minister Naftali Bennett has managed to make some changes in Israel's civic education curriculum: it is now more religious and less humanistic. The problem is not with civic education, but rather with the state; civic education reflects reality, not those who mold it. The responsibility for reality does not fall on teachers, but on our elected leadership. Bennett is pushing education to the right It is true…

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  • Right-wing campaign portrays human rights leaders as foreign agents

    Israeli human rights leaders are now being portrayed as back-stabbing foreign implants. One minute and nine seconds. That's the length of the inciting video published this morning by right-wing activist Ronen Shoval. In less than a minute-and-a-half, Shoval manages to sum up all the reasons why an Israeli court deemed it okay to call "Im Tirzu" — an organization he founded — a "fascist" group. [tmwinpost] The video is part of a campaign by the group against foreign governments "planting" activists and groups belonging to Israeli civil society. It begins with a clip of a Palestinian man moving his knife…

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  • Trump is no more racist than mainstream Israeli policy

    Israeli politicians are joining the global pushback against Donald Trump's anti-Muslim racism. But guess what other country bans Muslim immigration? Just days after Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump announced that he will be visiting Israel by the end of December, the billionaire populist called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Everyone is aghast, including several Israeli politicians, figures and organizations, who began expressing their disgust and indignation Wednesday morning. Some went as far as demanding that Trump be blocked from entering Israel's parliament, the Knesset, or to bar him from entering the country entirely.…

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  • Israel’s Knesset gives a nod to settlement labels

    In order to give preference to contractors located in West Bank settlements, won't Israel's parliament first have to distinguish them just as the EU plans to? A key parliamentary committee advanced a draft law on Monday that would require the Knesset to give preference to West Bank settlement businesses in one-quarter of the goods and services it contracts. [tmwinpost] The bill, sponsored by Likud MK David Bitan, is an attempt to strengthen Israeli businesses in the occupied West Bank in response to European plans to label settlement goods. The bill must still pass a number of legislative hurdles before becoming…

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  • 'We don't need a constitution—we have the Bible'

    Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee says every piece of legislation should be 'compatible with Jewish law.' From the moment Israel's founding fathers declared the independence of their state, Israeli politicians have been unable to agree on a formal constitution. Although the Declaration of Independence stipulated that a constitution be written by October 1, 1948, the 1948 war—as well as the inability of different groups in Israeli society to agree on the purpose and identity of the state—prevented that from happening. Every so often the idea of a formal constitution is floated by politicians and civil society,…

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  • Knesset deputy speaker accused of pimping, meth abuse

    Junior MK Oren Hazan, who rose in the ranks at breathtaking speed to become the country's deputy speaker of the Knesset, is now being accused of running a gambling operation, procuring call girls and using crystal meth. Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Oren Hazan (Likud) was suspended from chairing parliamentary sessions Tuesday morning after a Channel 2 exposé alleged he was involved in running a gambling operation; procuring and paying for call girls for his clients; and even using crystal meth — all as recently as last summer. The suspension puts a looming question mark over the most rapid and…

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  • Throwing stones, starting fires: Shaked's first bill as justice minister

    A draft law sponsored by Ayelet Shaked would dramatically lower the bar for convicting Palestinians in Jerusalem for throwing stones, and set a penalty of 10 years in prison. The law's application to West Bank settlers is unlikely. A key government committee on Sunday passed a bill that would make it much easier to convict people of throwing stones at moving vehicles, and dramatically increase the punishment generally meted out on stone-throwers. The bill, sponsored by newly appointed Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), is effectively a resuscitation of legislation proposed by former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni last November. [tmwinpost]…

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  • Isaac Herzog, leader of the non-opposition

    Many people are describing opposition leader Isaac Herzog's maiden speech in the 20th Knesset as the speech that could have won him the election. But is he offering an alternative that's any better than Netanyahu? Mabrouk on you, the new government تشوفو على وجهها الخير – may it bring only good things. That's how we, the naïvely optimistic Arabs, congratulate people on new things. Regardless of what we feel, we know how to congratulate. But let's not spend any more time on the new government. Sooner or later, Israel's 34th government will join its predecessors in the dustbin of history.…

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  • [VID] 'I have a dream': Ayman Odeh's maiden Knesset speech

    Head of the Joint List shares his vision of a shared, equal future for Jews and Arabs in Israel. But is it a vision left-wing Israelis and liberal American Jews can sign onto? Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, gave his maiden speech in Knesset this week. Odeh, a 40 year-old lawyer from Haifa, heads a list of parties representing Palestinian nationalists, Baathists, Islamists, and Jewish and Arab socialists. [tmwinpost] He led this unlikely group to win 13 seats in the March election, making it the third-largest party in the Knesset — after the Likud and the Zionist…

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