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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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  • More female MKs doesn't mean a more feminist Knesset

    The fact that the 20th Knesset will have a record number of female MKs does not mean they will necessarily advance women's rights. Some of them, in fact, may end up doing just the opposite. By Samah Salaime Now that the winds have died down completely and I have finished writing all my commentary on the elections, I am returning to more familiar territory: feminism. Many men wanted to see me return to this modest niche; you know, to deal with issues that are proper for a woman. "What do you care about politics?" my good friend asked me. "You are…

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  • Sorry Israeli leftists, I've got no sympathy for you

    Half of Israelis are 'stuck' with a prime minister they didn't want. All Palestinians are stuck with a president who lost his democratic mandate years ago. By Talal Jabari I have spoken to quite a few Israelis following Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest win at the polls earlier this month who talk about their disappointment in his re-election. I am sure that a lot of people who campaigned for other parties — those who felt like there could actually be a change of photo on the walls of the Prime Minister’s Office — were truly disenchanted. After all, that change looked quite…

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  • Interview: What Hamas' media thinks of Israeli elections

    How is the Palestinian media covering Israeli elections? What do they think of the Joint List? A media survey covering Palestinian outlets in Israel proper, the West Bank, Gaza and beyond. And an interview with the editor of Hamas' official newspaper. By Rami Younis According to the famous cliche, there is no better time for news than during wars and elections. When it comes to wars, both the Palestinian and the Israeli media would likely agree. When it comes to elections that will directly affect the lives of millions of people under occupation who have no right to vote, however,…

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  • The Arab parties united? Great, now it's time to get to work

    After a great deal of work, the joint Arab election slate has finally come into fruition. But what does the list say about the place of women in Arab politics? Who proved himself to be the real leader of the group? And what can the Arab public do now? You know that joke about how Arabs can't agree about anything but the fact that they disagree about everything? Well, it is officially no longer relevant! With the looming elections and the raising of the electoral threshold, Israel's Arab population went into a long state of difficult contractions. A group of…

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  • Arab parties likely to announce historic joint election slate in coming days

    Islamists, Marxists, women and Jews: The Arab parties have done the seemingly impossible and are likely announce a united election slate in the coming days. By Yael Marom and Nadav Frankovich Israel's Arab parties are expected to announce the formation of a combined election slate in the lead-up to the upcoming elections. The slate, which will group Ra'am, Balad, Hadash and Ta'al into one party (without formally merging), has been named "The United List," and is set to include secular, religious, female and Jewish politicians. While the different Arab parties have historically run separately, a law spearheaded last year by…

  • Why won't the Arab parties just unite already?

    Raising the Knesset threshold was a game-changer, and now the Arab parties must find a way to unite in order to stay relevant. Will they put aside their egos and political differences for the sake of Israel's Palestinian minority? A war of attrition has been declared on the Palestinian minority in Israel, in the wake of endless discussions over the possibility of uniting the Arab parties to run in the upcoming elections. It turns out that Arabs are not really connected to realtime: with every passing week, simple folk such as myself (not to mention 60 percent of the Arab…

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  • High Court rules against Zoabi, upholds Knesset suspension

    'In effect, from this day forward, Arab Knesset members will be subject to the political judgements of the Jewish majority,'  MK Zoabi's attorneys say. The High Court of Justice on Wednesday rejected MK Haneen Zoabi's appeal to overturn her six-month suspension from parliamentary discussions for a political opinion she expressed on the radio in June. As I reported yesterday, in deliberating her petition, the justices spent more time interpreting and judging Zoabi's politics than whether the Knesset had the right to suspend her in the first place. In its decision (Hebrew), the justices essentially chose "not to interfere" with the…

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  • Israelis deserve more from their leaders

    We deserve thought-out policies that can bring an end to the current cycle of violence and prevent the next. By Ilan Manor Henry Ford once said that thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. Over the past few days, some Israelis have felt that their elected officials in the Knesset have given up on thinking all together. First came the revelation that our elected representatives in the Knesset approved the state budget in a preliminary vote without even having the opportunity to read it and understand what they were…

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