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  • How Israel is turning one Arab party into a security threat

    Balad isn't the first political party in Israel to be suspected of violating campaign finance laws. But it is the first one to have its members arrested in overnight, commando-style raids. There are two possible ways to describe the dramatic, highly-publicized arrest of dozens of activists and senior members of the Balad party earlier this week: "The police opened a wide spreads investigation against Balad over suspicions of fraudulently transferring millions of shekels to the party's coffers during the 2013 elections." [tmwinpost] Or: "In an overnight operation security focus raided the homes of dozens of Palestinians, arresting them for pro-Palestinian…

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  • Israel's national scapegoat

    Since members of Israel's parliament can't take out their anger about the Turkey reconciliation deal on Netanyahu, they go for the easiest target around — Haneen Zoabi. For all nine years of my childhood in Iran, I never personally encountered anti-Semitism. We lived in a mixed neighborhood, I studied at a Jewish high school along with non-Jews, and I cannot remember even a single instance where I was insulted or attacked for being Jewish. [tmwinpost] From time to time I would hear stories from older family members about quarrels with the neighborhood hooligans who would harass them for being Jewish.…

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  • Will Israel be in a 'state of emergency' forever?

    The anti-terror law passed through Israel's Knesset last week without one of its scariest pieces, the normalization of administrative detention, which remains dependent on the country's 67-year-old self-declared state of emergency. That could have a bizarre consequence. A new anti-terrorism bill passed by Israel’s Knesset last week may have actually perpetuated the single, looming problem its writers set out to solve — ending Israel’s 67-year state of emergency. The bill is one of many pushed through the Knesset in recent years as part of an effort to eventually revoke the country’s declared state of emergency, initially declared by the British Mandate government in…

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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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